Judicial authorities in the US state of Delaware have told Facebook to hand over internal documents concerning data privacy at the firm and policies on access to user data, an NBC report reveals.
The formal request has risen out of an investor lawsuit which is seeking official Facebook information so that an investigation can be carried out into malpractice and mismanagement at the social network.
The ruling comes as a further blow to Facebook as it struggles to rebuild its reputation and deal with the fallout of a series of high-profile data breach scandals.
The investor lawsuit finds it roots in the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal which broke in early 2018. The incident, which blew the lid on how personal details can be illicitly used to manipulate democratic processes, saw the private information of over 50 million Facebook users being harvested without consent.
The users’ data were passed on to UK-based cyber intelligence firm, Cambridge Analytica in 2015, which used the information to create pro-Trump voter-targeted political advertising in the run-up to the US presidential elections in 2016.
During the breach, Facebook had to accept the Federal Trade Commission’s ruling that the data privacy standards in evidence were insufficient.
In court, Facebook maintained that the plaintiffs had not outlined a real purpose for auditing the social network’s records, and that they had not demonstrated a plausible basis for deeming that board directors were in breach of their duties. The Delaware judge did not accept the argument.
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