Thursday 17 October 2019

Emails 'show Zuckerberg's connection to privacy practices'

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg

Sayanti Chakraborty

Facebook emails appear to show chief executive Mark Zuckerberg's involvement in discussions about its much criticised privacy practices, according to US reports.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating allegations that Facebook inappropriately shared information belonging to 87 million users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

The 'Wall Street Journal' reported the communications "appear to show chief executive Mark Zuckerberg's connection to potentially problematic privacy practices at the company".

Shares of the California-based company were down 1.8pc at $174.9 in early afternoon trading yesterday.

Facebook said it had fully co-operated with the FTC investigation to date and provided tens of thousands of documents, emails and files.

"Facebook and its executives, including Mark, at all times strive to comply with all applicable law, and at no point did Mark or any other Facebook employee knowingly violate the company's obligations under the FTC consent order," a company spokesman said.

Meanwhile, a manipulated video appearing to show Mr Zuckerberg talking about him being "one man with total control of billions of people's stolen data" will not be removed, the social network has said.

The video is known as a deepfake, using AI software to combine and superimpose existing images of a person to make it look they have said something which they have not.

Facebook will take steps to filter out and reduce the distribution of such content, rather than outright removing it.

The FTC and the Department of Justice, which enforce anti-trust laws in the US, are also gearing up to investigate whether tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet's Google misuse their massive market power.

Irish Independent

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