2019.11.08 Last Week in Digital Media


Welcome to Last Week in Digital Media, here’s the news you may have missed:





~ 7000 documents of internal Facebook communications were leaked to media outlets during the week. The leaked documents formed part of the material used in a lawsuit against Facebook. For clarity, the documents are not a data breach of Facebook, they have been leaked anonymously to the media by persons unknown. There are also documents missing in the leak (unknown if it’s deliberate or just what happened) all of which may skew their context/interpretation.

As-is the documents paint a picture of Facebook leveraging its user data as a tool to either strengthen partnerships or fight competitors. The documents also show the pressure (or paranoia) Facebook was experiencing as mobile growth exploded, including fears that WhatsApp (and others) might launch a competitive social network as well as decisions to limit the ability for certain companies to advertise on the Facebook platform.

Viewed in isolation and without full context, they paint a somewhat-damaging picture of Facebook. You can expect regulators will seize on the leaked Facebook files as they look to build a case for anti-trust or other actions against the company. You can read more about the leaked Facebook documents on Duncan Campbell’s website (the Investigative Journalist who received the files).

In an unrelated announcement, California has now filed a petition to sue Facebook (PDF link) alleging “Facebook has violated California law by, among other things, deceiving users and ignoring its own policies in allowing third parties broad access to user data”. The petition requests Facebook supply documents and files across a range of topics to assist in the investigation. Putting Facebook in the unenviable position of knowing when it previously complied with a legal request the documents leaked.


Have a great week


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