Parliament seizes cache of Facebook documents in ‘unprecedented move’

Nov 28, 2018, 01:44
Parliament seizes cache of Facebook documents in ‘unprecedented move’

Rarely-used Parliamentary powers were used to demand that the boss of a U.S. software firm hand over the details.

He rejected pleas by Facebook not to make the documents public, saying the United Kingdom was not subject to the same sub judice laws as California.

British lawmakers have obtained documents that could be "highly relevant" to an inquiry that has been looking into Facebook's response to disinformation, a spokesperson told NBC News on Sunday. Facebook has denied all the allegations made and demanded the return of the papers.

The documents were intercepted when the boss of United States software company Six4Three in possession of the cache visited the UK on business, The Observer reported.

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In a highly unusual move a House of Commons serjeant at arms was sent to the businessman's hotel and he was given a final warning and a two-hour deadline to comply with the order.

Zuckerberg refused to comply so "it's understood he was escorted to parliament" where "he was told he risked fines and even imprisonment if he didn't hand over the documents".

Six4Three is involved in court action against Facebook, where the documents were obtained through United States legal mechanisms. Mr. Kramer was eventually compelled to hand over the documents. This is an unprecedented move but it's an unprecedented situation.

In a letter to Allan, Collins said the seized material "could contain important information of a high public interest" about Facebook's "policies on sharing user data with developers, how these have been enforced, and how the company identifies activity by bad actors". "We have no further comment".

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Allan was responding to Canadian lawmaker Charlie Angus, who said the social media giant has "lost the trust of the worldwide community to self-police", and that governments have to start looking at ways to hold the company accountable.

Allan repeatedly declined to give an example of a person or app banned from Facebook for misuse of data, aside from the GSR app which gathered data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. We don't know what is in these files as of yet, but if the mess from Facebook's latest scandal of "we didn't hire a PR firm to spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, except actually we did and it's really no big deal" is any indication, the internal discussions of a company constantly mired in a dereliction of its self-professed duty should be quite revealing.

The documents were seized during the discovery process in a Six4Three lawsuit that claims Facebook created privacy loopholes that allowed Cambridge Analytica to obtain Facebook user data.

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