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6 Nov, 2019 18:58

Facebook ordered to cough up Zuckerberg emails after stonewalling California privacy probe

Facebook ordered to cough up Zuckerberg emails after stonewalling California privacy probe

Facebook is stonewalling a California investigation into the company’s violations of user privacy, refusing to turn over internal communications of its executives, court filings show. Maybe they do believe in privacy after all!

Facebook refused to respond to the state’s subpoena requesting the communications of CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other senior executives, according to a Wednesday court filing in California’s ongoing probe of the social media behemoth’s privacy abuses. Attorney General Xavier Becerra has petitioned the court to force the company to comply.

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The corporation must turn over documentation about the changes to Facebook’s privacy settings and all documents detailing its privacy program, in addition to internal communications, Becerra said in the filing, adding that Facebook “has refused to conduct a complete search for responsive documents” or search Zuckerberg or COO Sheryl Sandberg’s emails, as requested.

The investigation, which began in 2018 in response to the revelations that Cambridge Analytica had acquired millions of Facebook users’ private data without their knowledge or consent, has expanded to include the platform’s sharing of user data with all third party companies. Over 150 corporations enjoyed privileged access to Facebook users’ private data, including messages, email addresses and other sensitive information, under a secretive partnership that did not involve asking users' permission for the over-sharing.

California is far from alone in probing Facebook for its utter disregard of users’ privacy - 47 of 50 US states are doing the same, with some going further and investigating whether the platform has engaged in anti-competitive practices in violation of antitrust laws. Several national probes of the company are also underway.

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