Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

Facebook files lawsuit against South Korean social media analytics firm

Social media giant alleges Rankwave made $9.8m by improper use of Facebook data

Facebook is run like a monopoly with Mr Zuckerberg wielding significant control, co-founder Chris Hughes said in a recent NYT op-ed. Bloomberg
Facebook is run like a monopoly with Mr Zuckerberg wielding significant control, co-founder Chris Hughes said in a recent NYT op-ed. Bloomberg

Facebook is suing South Korean social media analytics firm Rankwave for failing to comply with its policy relating to advertising and marketing.

According to a court filing, beginning in 2014 Rankwave allegedly started using Facebook data that it collected from its apps “for its own business purposes”, including consulting to advertisers and marketers. Such activity goes against Facebook’s advertiser policies and the social media giant says the data was used to enrich Rankwave to the tune of $9.8 million.

According to Facebook, Rankwave subsequently refused an audit by Facebook, which is mandatory for all developers on its platform.

A lawsuit was filed in California state court against the South Korean firm on Friday, which the world's biggest social media platform said was to send a message that it was "serious" about enforcing policies against developers who do not co-operate during investigations.

All apps and accounts associated with Rankwave had been suspended, with the lawsuit looking to compel the firm to comply with Facebook's terms, the company said in a statement.

“Rankwave’s misconduct also has harmed Facebook’s reputation, public trust and goodwill, and caused Facebook to spend resources investigating and redressing Rankwave’s wrongful conduct,” Facebook said in the filing.

Facebook has itself battled allegations of abuse of users' data over the last three years, with the social networking site coming under increasing scrutiny from governments and regulators over issues relating to privacy and hate speech.

Facebook's lawsuit comes amid calls to break up the social media company by one of its co-founders, Chris Hughes. In a New York Times op-ed published last week, Mr Hughes said the company he helped found had suffered irreversible reputational damage following the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2017. Facebook had handed over data of tens of millions of users to the British political consulting firm, which triggered concerns over the social media company's handling of privacy. Facebook's inability to control inaccurate news articles during the 2016 US elections as well as its slow response to the live streaming of mass shootings in New Zealand in March have further sunk its reputation.

Facebook has in response implemented measures such as working to create an independent oversight board of experts to review its content decisions.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, said last week it would "demote" content that is inaccurate, such as posts discouraging vaccination. The company said it was reviewing posts that misinform by screening hashtags that are associated with it.

In the lawsuit against Rankwave, Facebook is seeking unspecified damages and to get back the $9.8m that it alleges Rankwave made from improper use of its data.

Updated: May 11, 2019 02:54 PM

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