Facebook Sues South Korean Analytics Company to Send a 'Message' That It Means Business Now

Illustration for article titled Facebook Sues South Korean Analytics Company to Send a Message That It Means Business Now
Photo: Jeff Chiu (AP)

Facebook has filed a lawsuit against South Korean data analytics company Rankwave over a breach of contract after the company allegedly failed to prove that it was complying with Facebook’s data policies.

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The lawsuit was filed Friday in a California superior court in San Mateo County and claims that Rankwave, which operated at least 30 apps through the platform, used Facebook data in order to market and sell its own services, specifically tools used by various customers and businesses to track Facebook interactions such as likes and comments on their pages.

Facebook said in the filing that it launched an investigation into Rankwave last June following the company’s acquisition by a Korean entertainment company, a probe that apparently included examining “whether any user data had been impacted” by Rankwave’s conduct.

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Facebook alleges that the company failed to provide evidence that it was adhering to Facebook’s terms of service and did not comply with a cease and desist request sent to the company in February. In failing to comply with Facebook’s rules, Rankwave “harmed Facebook’s reputation, public trust, and goodwill, and caused Facebook to spend resources investigating and redressing Rankwave’s wrongful conduct.”

According to the filing, Rankwave denied that it violated Facebook’s terms but didn’t provide sufficient evidence to Facebook of that being the case. The suit is seeking Rankwave’s compliance with an audit request as well as proof of compliance. It’s also requesting the company delete any Facebook data it may have.

In a blog post about the lawsuit, Jessica Romero, Facebook’s Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation wrote that the company had suspended all of Rankwave’s apps and accounts.

“By filing the lawsuit, we are sending a message to developers that Facebook is serious about enforcing our policies, including requiring developers to cooperate with us during an investigation,” Romero added.

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There’s an argument to be made that at least some of that reputational and public trust erosion cited in Facebook’s filing the company did all on its own. Then again, Facebook is clinging to its privacy rebranding for dear life. It’ll need all the showboating it can get.

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DISCUSSION

Facebook’s PR issues: 70% Facebook, 30% third-party bad actors, such as Cambridge Analytica.

Although it’s absolutely true that Facebook did this to themselves, it wouldn’t be as bad as it is without companies like Rankwave abusing Facebook’s neglectful lack of oversight.

As a side note: Facebook seriously needs to get rid of Sheryl Sandburg. She’s obviously the source of most of Facebook’s internal problems and she’s doing everything she can to not fix them. Causing the problems was criminal negligence. Not fixing them is intentional.