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Paul Merrell

Meta reaches $37.5 mln settlement of Facebook location tracking lawsuit | Reuters - 0 views

  • Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) reached a $37.5 million settlement of a lawsuit accusing the parent of Facebook of violating users' privacy by tracking their movements through their smartphones without permission.A preliminary settlement of the proposed class action was filed on Monday in San Francisco federal court, and requires a judge's approval.It resolved claims that Facebook violated California law and its own privacy policy by gathering data from users who turned off Location Services on their mobile devices.Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRegisterAdvertisement · Scroll to continueThe users said that while they did not want to share their locations with Facebook, the company nevertheless inferred where they were from their IP (internet protocol) addresses, and used that information to send them targeted advertising.Monday's settlement covers people in the United States who used Facebook after Jan. 30, 2015.Meta denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle. It did not immediately respond on Tuesday to requests for comment.Advertisement · Scroll to continueIn June 2018, Facebook and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told the U.S. Congress that the Menlo Park, California-based company uses location data "to help advertisers reach people in particular areas."As an example, it said users who dined at particular restaurants might receive posts from friends who also ate there, or ads from businesses that wanted to provide services nearby.The lawsuit began in November 2018. Lawyers for the plaintiffs may seek up to 30% of Monday's settlement for legal fees, settlement papers show.Advertisement · Scroll to continueThe cases is Lundy et al v Facebook Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-06793.
Paul Merrell

Big Tech companies appeal to Supreme Court to strike down Texas law banning political c... - 0 views

  • Facebook and Google are among multiple Big Tech companies seeking to have Texas’ new law banning political censorship on social media axed by the Supreme Court. According to The Washington Post, advocacy groups NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday on behalf of Facebook, Google and other Big Tech companies, with the intention of striking down the new Texas law that prohibits censorship based on political ideology on social media. In a statement about the emergency filing, NetChoice counsel Chris Marchese argues that the Texas law, which went into effect last Wednesday, “strips private online businesses of their speech rights, forbids them from making constitutionally protected editorial decisions, and forces them to publish and promote objectionable content.”
  • “Left standing, [the Texas law] will turn the First Amendment on its head — to violate free speech, the government need only claim to be ‘protecting’ it,” Marchese added. Under the law, Texas residents and the state’s attorney general would be permitted to sue social media companies based in the United States if they believe their social media accounts were censored based on their political views. While the law was initially blocked by a federal district judge after it was signed last September by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, the injunction was ultimately lifted by an appeals court last Wednesday. Big Tech companies have been consistently charged with weaponizing their “Terms of Service” agreements with users in an effort to ban or censor those expressing traditionally conservative or right-wing views on their extremely large and influential platforms.
Paul Merrell

Facebook, Instagram could shut down in Europe over data transfer - 0 views

  • Meta could shut down Facebook and Instagram throughout Europe if regulators are unable to hammer out a permanent data transfer deal, the company warned in a recent SEC filing. The claim from Mark Zuckerberg’s company came as officials in the European Union and US attempt to craft a new trans-Atlantic data transfer agreement. The EU’s Court of Justice struck down a previous agreement, dubbed Privacy Shield, in 2020, due to concerns it could not ensure data security for Europeans once it is sent to the US. Without a transnational deal in place, Meta could face legal and regulatory obstacles when it transfers user data, which plays a key role in its lucrative advertising business that comprises the bulk of the company’s annual revenue. “If a new transatlantic data transfer framework is not adopted and we are unable to continue to rely on SCCs (standard contractual clauses) or rely upon other alternative means of data transfers from Europe to the United States, we will likely be unable to offer a number of our most significant products and services, including Facebook and Instagram, in Europe,” Meta officials said in the filing.
Paul Merrell

Google and Facebook fined $240 million for making cookies hard to refuse | Malwarebytes... - 0 views

  • French privacy watchdog, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), has hit Google with a 150 million euro fine and Facebook with a 60 million euro fine, because their websites—google.fr, youtube.com, and facebook.com—don’t make refusing cookies as easy as accepting them. The CNIL carried out an online investigation after receiving complaints from users about the way cookies were handled on these sites. It found that while the sites offered buttons for allowing immediate acceptance of cookies, the sites didn’t implement an equivalent solution to let users refuse them. Several clicks were required to refuse all cookies, against a single one to accept them. In addition to the fines, the companies have been given three months to provide Internet users in France with a way to refuse cookies that’s as simple as accepting them. If they don’t, the companies will have to pay a penalty of 100,000 euros for each day they delay.
  • EU data protection regulators’ powers have increased significantly since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in May 2018. This EU law allows watchdogs to levy penalties of as much as 4% of a company’s annual global sales. The restricted committee, the body in charge of sanctions, considered that the process regarding cookies affects the freedom of consent of Internet users and constitutes an infringement of the French Data Protection Act, which demands that it should be as easy to refuse cookies as to accept them. Since March 31, 2021, when the deadline set for websites and mobile applications to comply with the new rules on cookies expired, the CNIL has adopted nearly 100 corrective measures (orders and sanctions) related to non-compliance with the legislation on cookies.
Paul Merrell

'Major Win': Judge Says Suit to Break Up Facebook Empire Can Proceed - 0 views

  • A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Federal Trade Commission's revised antitrust lawsuit against Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, can move forward—a potentially significant blow to the social media empire, which sought to have the case dismissed.In an amended complaint filed last August, the FTC provided additional data and stronger details to back up its allegations that Facebook has maintained a monopoly on social networking services for the past decade by "illegally acquiring innovative competitors and burying successful app developers."U.S. District Judge James Boasberg—who in June dismissed the FTC's first antitrust complaint against Facebook, calling it "legally insufficient"—wrote in Tuesday's ruling that the evidence in the agency's second filing is "far more robust and detailed than before."
Paul Merrell

Russian court slaps Google, Meta with massive fines - Taipei Times - 1 views

  • A Moscow court on Friday slapped Google with a nearly US$100 million fine and also fined Facebook Inc’s parent company Meta Platforms Inc US$27 million over their failure to delete content banned by local law, as Russia seeks to step up pressure on technology giants. The Tagansky District Court ruled that Google repeatedly neglected to remove the banned content, and ordered the company to pay an administrative fine of 7.2 billion rubles (US$97.7 million).
  • Later on Friday, the court also slapped a fine of nearly 2 billion rubles on Meta for failure to remove banned content. Russian courts had this year imposed smaller fines on Google, Facebook and Twitter Inc, and Friday’s rulings were the first time that the size of the fines were calculated based on revenue. Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said that Google and Meta were specifically accused of contravening a ban on distributing content that promotes extremist ideology, insults religious beliefs and encourages dangerous behavior by minors, among other things.
Paul Merrell

Facebook's Zuckerberg Called Out by The BMJ for 'Incompetent' Fact Check on Pfizer Stor... - 0 views

  • The BMJ asked Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to remove a warning that discourages Facebook users from sharing an article about flaws in Pfizer’s COVID vaccine trial, saying the platform’s “incompetent” fact checkers are unfaily labeling stories as false. In an open letter Friday, The BMJ editors explained how some readers are unable to post its Nov. 2 article on Facebook. Other readers have received pop-up warnings that if they choose to share “false information,” their posts may rank lower in Facebook’s news feed.
  • “We find the ‘fact check’ performed by Lead Stories to be inaccurate, incompetent and irresponsible,” wrote The BMJ editors Fiona Godlee and Kamran Abbasi. “It fails to provide any assertions of fact that The BMJ article got wrong.” The BMJ article last month documented a host of poor practices that may have hurt data integrity and patient safety in the Phase 3 trial for Pfizer’s COVID vaccine. A whistleblower had supplied The BMJ with internal company documents, photos, audio recordings and e-mails from a contract research company overseeing some trial sites. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration declined to inspect the affected sites despite receiving a direct complaint in 2020, The BMJ said. Pfizer’s vaccine, called Comirnaty, received approval in August 2021. “There is also a wider concern that we wish to raise,” The BMJ wrote in its letter to Zuckerberg. “We are aware that The BMJ is not the only high quality information provider to have been affected by the incompetence of Meta’s fact checking regime.”
  • Facebook isn’t Lead Stories’ only client. The company also works for Google, ByteDance (TikTok’s owner) and the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. The fact checker’s stated mission is to “hunt for trending stories, images, videos and posts that contain false information in order to fact check them as quickly as possible.” The BMJ urged Zuckerberg to act swiftly, “specifically to correct the error relating to The BMJ’s article and to review the processes that led to the error; and generally to reconsider your investment in and approach to fact checking overall.”
Paul Merrell

Facebook's Marketplace Faces Antitrust Probes in EU, U.K. - WSJ - 1 views

  • The European Union and the U.K. opened formal antitrust investigations into Facebook Inc.’s FB -0.86% classified-ads service Marketplace, ramping up regulatory scrutiny for the company in Europe. Both the European Commission—the EU’s top antitrust enforcer—and the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority said Friday they are investigating whether Facebook repurposes data it gathers from advertisers who buy ads in order to give illegal advantages to its own services, including its Marketplace online flea market. The U.K. added that it is also investigating whether Facebook uses advertiser data to give similar advantages to its online-dating service. The two competition watchdogs said they would coordinate their investigations.
  • Separately on Friday, Germany’s competition regulator announced that it is opening an investigation into Google’s News Showcase, in which the tech company pays to license certain content from news publishers. That probe, which is based on new powers Germany had granted the regulator, will look among other things at whether Google is imposing unfair conditions on publishers and how it selects participants, the Federal Cartel Office said.
  • The three newly opened cases are part of a new wave of antitrust enforcement in Europe. The European Commission filed formal charges last month against Apple Inc. for allegedly abusing its control over the distribution of music-streaming apps, including Spotify Technology SA . In November, it filed formal charges against Amazon.com Inc. for allegedly using nonpublic data it gathers from third-party sellers to unfairly compete against them. Both companies denied wrongdoing. At the same time, the U.K.’s CMA has opened investigations into Google’s announcement that it will retire third-party cookies, a technology advertisers use to track web users, and whether Apple imposes anticompetitive conditions on some app developers, including the use of Apple’s in-app payment system, which is also the subject of a lawsuit in the U.S. In the EU, the European Commission has been investigating Facebook for more than a year on multiple fronts. Facebook and the Commission have squabbled over access to internal documents as part of those investigations.
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  • New York State Attorney General Letitia James outlined in December a sweeping antitrust suit against Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission and a bipartisan group of 46 state attorneys general, targeting the company’s tactics against competitors. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images (Video from 12/9/20)
Paul Merrell

Facebook agrees to $650M settlement to end Illinois privacy lawsuit | AppleInsider - 0 views

  • A judge has approved a settlement valued at $650 million from Facebook to end a privacy lawsuit, one which alleged the social network used facial recognition technology on user photos stored on its iPhone app without permission. The lawsuit, which started in April 2015, alleged Facebook did not gain consent from users to use its facial tagging features on their photographs. Originally filed by Chicago attorney Jay Edelson on behalf of plaintiff Carlo Licata, the complaint claimed the consent-less tagging was not allowed under privacy laws in Illinois. The case originated in Cook County Circuit Court before moving to Chicago federal court then California, reports the Chicago Tribune. On reaching California, the lawsuit attained class-action status. The class in question constitutes approximately 6.9 million Facebook users in Illinois that Facebook created and stored a face template for after June 7, 2011. Close to 1.6 million claim forms were filed ahead of the November 23 deadline for joining, making up roughly 22% of potential class members. Facebook went against the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, the complaint alleged, which is among the toughest privacy laws in the United States. Part of the act requires companies to gain permission from users before being able to start using biometric systems with their data, which includes facial recognition systems.
Paul Merrell

Facebook to invest $1bn in news business after Australia dispute | Media News | Al Jazeera - 0 views

  • Facebook Inc on Wednesday pledged to invest at least $1bn in the news industry over the next three years, days after a high-profile standoff with the Australian government over paying news outlets for content. The social network’s commitment to the news industry follows Google’s $1bn investment last year, as technology giants come under scrutiny over their business models as well as the proliferation of misinformation on their platforms.
  • Facebook on Tuesday restored Australian news pages, ending an unprecedented weeklong blackout after the company wrung concessions from the government over a proposed law that will require tech giants to pay traditional media companies for their content. The brief blackout shocked the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the tech giants.
  • Facebook said on Wednesday that it has already invested $600m in the news industry since 2018. The social media company added it was in active negotiations with news publishers in Germany and France for a deal to pay for content for its news product, where users can find headlines and stories next to a personalised news feed.
Paul Merrell

Facebook, Google struck illegal advertising deal: state AGs - Business Insider - 0 views

  • A coalition of state attorneys general filed an antitrust case against Google on Wednesday. They accused Google of giving Facebook unfair advertising advantages to stop it from getting into an area of adtech called "header bidding." Google perceived a move by Facebook into this space as a threat, they said. Per Wired, if this deal is proved to be true, it could spell big trouble for Google and Facebook, as it would fall under part of the Sherman Antitrust Act that has a relatively low bar for illegality. Google denied the claims, and Facebook was not immediately available for comment.
Paul Merrell

Google, Facebook made secret deal to divvy up market, Texas alleges - POLITICO - 1 views

  • Google and Facebook, the No. 1 and No. 2 players in online advertising, made a secret illegal pact in 2018 to divide up the market for ads on websites and apps, according to an antitrust suit filed Wednesday against the search giant. The suit — filed by Texas and eight other states — alleges that the companies colluded to fix prices and divvy up the market for mobile advertising between them.
  • The allegation that Google teamed up with Facebook to suppress competition mirrors a major claim in a separate antitrust suit the Justice Department filed against the company in October: that Google teamed up with Apple to help ensure the continued dominance of its search engine. Such allegations provide some of the strongest ammunition yet to advocates who argue that the U.S. major tech companies have gotten too big and are using their power — sometimes in conjunction with each other — to control markets.Many of the details about the Google-Facebook agreement, including its specific language, are redacted from the complaint. But the states say it “fixes prices and allocates markets between Google and Facebook as competing bidders in the auctions for publishers’ web display and in-app advertising inventory.”
  • The complaint alleges that the agreement was prompted by Facebook’s move in 2017 to use “header bidding” — a technology popular with website publishers that helped them increase the money they made from advertising. While Facebook sells ads on its own platform, it also operates a network to let advertisers offer ads on third-party apps and mobile websites.
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  • Google was concerned about the move to header bidding, the complaint alleges, because it posed an “existential threat” to its own advertising exchange and limited the ability of the search giant to use information from its ad-buying and selling tools to its advantage. Those tools let Google cherry pick the highest value advertising spots and ads, according to the complaint.Within months of Facebook’s announcement, Google approached it to open negotiations, the complaint alleged, and the two companies eventually cut a deal: Facebook would cut back on the use of header bidding and use Google’s ad server. In exchange, the complaint alleges that Google gave Facebook advantages in its auctions.
Paul Merrell

Keller Lenkner & Quinn Emanuel File Antitrust Class-Action Lawsuit Against Facebook - 1 views

  • National plaintiffs’ law firm Keller Lenkner LLC and global business litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook, Inc. alleging violations of federal antitrust laws and California law on behalf of Facebook users.ADVERTISEMENTFiled in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the complaint alleges that Facebook obtained and maintained a social network and social media monopoly by consistently deceiving consumers about the data-privacy protections it provided to users, and by exploiting the data it extracted from users to target smaller startup companies for destruction or acquisition.The lawsuit seeks to put an end to Facebook’s misrepresentations about its privacy practices and its anticompetitive acquisition conduct; to require Facebook to engage in third-party auditing of its conduct; and to require Facebook to divest assets, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, that entrench its market power.
  • According to the complaint, which was filed on behalf of named plaintiffs Sarah Grabert and Maximilian Klein, Facebook did not achieve its Big Tech monopoly through innovation or vigorous competition. Despite its public pledge to protect user privacy, Facebook lied to users and violated their trust in a scheme to build a technology empire. Facebook also acquired technology from smaller firms that it used to track consumer activity across the internet so that it could identify and target competitors.ADVERTISEMENTThe complaint further alleges that in a strategic, intentional ploy for market domination, Facebook engaged in its scheme to destroy all competition without a care for the ultimate harm it would inflict on consumers. By the time Facebook’s deception about its lackluster privacy protections became public knowledge, Facebook had already achieved dominance, making it difficult for any firm to challenge its social media and social network monopoly.
  • The complaint notes that Facebook derives enormous economic value from the data it harvests from consumers on its platform. In fact, Facebook itself has described how it generates massive earnings per user from the data it collects. The complaint details how Facebook’s destruction of competition has caused consumers substantial economic injury. Consumers who sign up for Facebook agree to give up their valuable data and attention in exchange for using Facebook’s platform. That information and attention is then sold in measurable units to advertisers in exchange for money. The complaint alleges that consumers were harmed by Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct, as they did not receive the benefit of their bargain with Facebook.The lawsuit includes claims for violations of federal antitrust laws and California common law. It also seeks an order enjoining Facebook from continuing to engage in the alleged wrongful acts, requiring Facebook to engage third-party auditors to evaluate and correct problems with Facebook’s conduct, and requiring Facebook to divest assets like Instagram and WhatsApp. The lawsuit also seeks monetary damages, restitution and/or disgorgement of Facebook’s wrongful gains, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
Paul Merrell

Federal Trade Commission calls for breakup of Facebook - 0 views

  • The Federal Trade Commission sued to break up Facebook on Wednesday, asking a federal court to force the sell-off of assets such as Instagram and WhatsApp as independent businesses.“Facebook has maintained its monopoly position by buying up companies that present competitive threats and by imposing restrictive policies that unjustifiably hinder actual or potential rivals that Facebook does not or cannot acquire,” the commission said in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.The lawsuit asks the court to order the “divestiture of assets, divestiture or reconstruction of businesses (including, but not limited to, Instagram and/or WhatsApp),” as well as other possible relief the court might want to add.
  • Attorneys general from 48 states and territories said they were filing their own lawsuit against Facebook, reflecting the broad and bipartisan concern about how much power Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, have accumulated on the internet.
Paul Merrell

Canadians sue Facebook over use of personal info | Toronto.com - 1 views

  • Two Facebook users are seeking damages on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Canadians whose personal data may have been improperly used for political purposes. The proposed class-action lawsuit filed by Calgary residents Saul Benary and Karma Holoboff asks the Federal Court to order the social-media giant to bolster its security practices to better protect sensitive information and comply with federal privacy law. It also seeks $1,000 for each of the approximately 622,000 Canadians whose information was shared with others through a digital app.
Paul Merrell

House Lawmakers Condemn Big Tech's 'Monopoly Power' and Urge Their Breakups - The New Y... - 0 views

  • House lawmakers who spent the last 16 months investigating the practices of the world’s largest technology companies said on Tuesday that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google had exercised and abused their monopoly power and called for the most sweeping changes to antitrust laws in half a century.In a 449-page report that was presented by the House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic leadership, lawmakers said the four companies had turned from “scrappy” start-ups into “the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.” The lawmakers said the companies had abused their dominant positions, setting and often dictating prices and rules for commerce, search, advertising, social networking and publishing.The House ReportRead the full report here »
  • To amend the inequities, the lawmakers recommended restoring competition by effectively breaking up the companies, emboldening the agencies that police market concentration and throwing up hurdles for the companies to acquire start-ups. They also proposed reforming antitrust laws, in the biggest potential shift since the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act of 1976 created stronger reviews of big mergers.
Paul Merrell

4 Key Takeaways From Washington's Big Tech Hearing On 'Monopoly Power' : NPR - 0 views

  • Here are some key takeaways from the hearing:
  •  
    Hearing was held by video-conference. Not much of substance came out of it. Still, the subcommittee has employed some high-power investigators who have spent hundreds of hours pawing through these companies' documents. I look for more substantive disclosures later.
Paul Merrell

Facebook to Pay $550 Million to Settle Facial Recognition Suit - The New York Times - 2 views

  • Facebook said on Wednesday that it had agreed to pay $550 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over its use of facial recognition technology in Illinois, giving privacy groups a major victory that again raised questions about the social network’s data-mining practices.The case stemmed from Facebook’s photo-labeling service, Tag Suggestions, which uses face-matching software to suggest the names of people in users’ photos. The suit said the Silicon Valley company violated an Illinois biometric privacy law by harvesting facial data for Tag Suggestions from the photos of millions of users in the state without their permission and without telling them how long the data would be kept. Facebook has said the allegations have no merit.Under the agreement, Facebook will pay $550 million to eligible Illinois users and for the plaintiffs’ legal fees. The sum dwarfs the $380.5 million that the Equifax credit reporting agency agreed this month to pay to settle a class-action case over a 2017 consumer data breach.
Paul Merrell

California's Attorney General joins the long list of people who have had it with Facebo... - 0 views

  • California’s attorney general has gone to court to force Facebook to hand over documents as part of an investigation into the company. Xavier Becerra filed a “petition to enforce investigative subpoena” with the Superior Court of California in San Francisco on Wednesday morning, arguing that Facebook’s response to his subpoenas has been “patently inadequate.” Citing a “lack of cooperation” not just with his office but also the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Xavier Becerra points out [PDF] that it took Facebook a year to respond to his initial inquiry to produce documents relating to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where Facebook allowed a third party to access vast amounts of personal information through its systems.
  • Not only that but Facebook flat out refused to “search communications involving senior executives,” meaning that it refused to search for relevant information in the emails and other communications of CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, among others. “Facebook is not just continuing to drag its feet, it is failing to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas and interrogatories,” the filing states.
  • The filing comes the same day that 7,000 pages of internal Facebook files were published online. Those documents were obtained and leaked amid a lawsuit between Facebook and a third-party app developer and were labelled as “highly confidential” by the antisocial network. The main upshot of those files is that they show Facebook used the data it gathered on millions of its users as a business weapon: it provided people's profile information to companies that, for instance, agreed to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on adverts within Facebook, and it cut off developers that posed a competitive threat to its ever-growing stable of companies and services (or developers that wouldn't pay up, or were just too sketchy for the internet giant.) This confirms earlier reporting. CEO Zuckerberg also continues to avoid visiting London, or anywhere in the UK, out of fear he will be arrested for repeatedly failing to comply with a request by Parliament to answer questions about Facebook’s actions, as revealed in the tranche of documents.
Paul Merrell

Time to 'Break Facebook Up,' Sanders Says After Leaked Docs Show Social Media Giant 'Tr... - 0 views

  • After NBC News on Wednesday published a trove of leaked documents that show how Facebook "treated user data as a bargaining chip with external app developers," White House hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders declared that it is time "to break Facebook up."
  • When British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell first shared the trove of documents with a handful of media outlets including NBC News in April, journalists Olivia Solon and Cyrus Farivar reported that "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network's power and control competitors by treating its users' data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data." With the publication Wednesday of nearly 7,000 pages of records—which include internal Facebook emails, web chats, notes, presentations, and spreadsheets—journalists and the public can now have a closer look at exactly how the company was using the vast amount of data it collects when it came to bargaining with third parties.
  • According to Solon and Farivar of NBC: Taken together, they show how Zuckerberg, along with his board and management team, found ways to tap Facebook users' data—including information about friends, relationships, and photos—as leverage over the companies it partnered with. In some cases, Facebook would reward partners by giving them preferential access to certain types of user data while denying the same access to rival companies. For example, Facebook gave Amazon special access to user data because it was spending money on Facebook advertising. In another case the messaging app MessageMe was cut off from access to data because it had grown too popular and could compete with Facebook.
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  • The document dump comes as Facebook and Zuckerberg are facing widespread criticism over the company's political advertising policy, which allows candidates for elected office to lie in the ads they pay to circulate on the platform. It also comes as 47 state attorneys general, led by Letitia James of New York, are investigating the social media giant for antitrust violations.
  • The call from Sanders (I-Vt.) Wednesday to break up Facebook follows similar but less definitive statements from the senator. One of Sanders' rivals in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), released her plan to "Break Up Big Tech" in March. Zuckerberg is among the opponents of Warren's proposal, which also targets other major technology companies like Amazon and Google.
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