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issie lapowsky @issielapowsky
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Lawmakers from 9 countries are questioning Facebook's Richard Allan right now in London. First up is Canada's Charlie Angus, who's going in on the fact that Zuckerberg didn't show up like they wanted him to. He condemns the "frat boy billionaires" in CA upending global democracy.
"You have lost the trust of the international community to self-police." - Angus of Canada
Background: This should be an interesting day. Last week, the British MPs seized a cache of internal FB documents that are part of a legal case in CA and were ordered sealed. The docs allegedly back up accusations of Facebook exploiting user data and anticompetitive practices.
No questions on that yet, though.
Allan is at a loss for any apps Facebook has suspended beyond Cambridge Analytica's apps. I'll give him one: myPersonality, which was the app developed by researchers associated w. Cambridge University's Psychometrics Centre as described here:…
Ian Lucas MP of Britain says Facebook knows developers are misusing data. "The only time you ever take action is when you’re found out."
First tidbit from the docs via @DamianCollins: Says they reveal that an engineer at FB notified the company in Oct. 2014 that entities with Russian IP addresses had been using a Pinterest API key to pull out 3 billion data points a day through the FB friends API.
"Was that reported or was it kept, as so often seems to be the case, kept within the family?" - Collins to Allan. Allan says, "Those emails are an unverified partial account from a source who has a particular angle."
Collins asks whether there were some "whitelisted" developers who had access to friend data long after FB cut other apps off. FB did give some apps more time to transition to its new API. Among them was Mail.Ru, a Russian tech juggernaut…
Collins asks if Facebook ever had a policy of "reciprocity" which is alleged by Six4Three. They allege that FB required developers to buy mobile ads in order to get access to data. Allan says "reciprocity" just meant users should be able to share content from apps to FB.
Allan says the reason FB continued allowing developers to access friend data even after the FTC consent decree was for "something like a calendar [app] with your friends birthdays." 😏
Allan is asked if Facebook reported it to law enforcement when it received word in October 2014 that a Russian IP address was using Pinterest to pull billions of data point from FB a day. Allan says he'll get back to them.
Allan on why Facebook wants these docs to remain private: "I don't think we have a duty to put into the public domain all of our internal discussions around an issue."
Canadian MP is also asking questions about the allegations made by Six4Three, but says he didn't get them from the documents the DCMS committee has. His questions: Did FB ever require app developers to buy mobile ads to get access to data? Allan says no.
His other question: Did Mark Zuckerberg ever cancel an announcement to change Facebook's API so as to cut off access to friend data? Allan says he's not aware.
Well this is something. Allan says he doesn't think tech platforms should be held legally responsible for everything on their platforms, but "the idea that we’re exempt from everything is out of date.” That seems big.
Angus of Canada ends by asking Allan whether the solution to all of this is to break Facebook up. Allan says that depends on what problem you're trying to fix.
Angus: "The problem is Facebook. That’s the problem. We’re talking about symptoms, but the problem is the unprecedented economic control of every form of social discourse and communication that is Facebook."

Zee end.
Facebook's explanation about the alleged Russian activity from 2014 is decidedly vague: "The engineers who had flagged these initial concerns subsequently looked into this further and found no evidence of specific Russian activity."…
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