Facebook sues South Korean firm over data misuse

San Francisco: Battling the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook has now filed a lawsuit in California state court against Rankwave, a South Korean data analytics company that ran apps on its platform.

The lawsuit alleged that Rankwave abused Facebook’s developer platform’s data and refused to cooperate with a mandatory compliance audit and request to delete the data.

“Facebook was investigating Rankwave’s data practices in relation to its advertising and marketing services.

“Rankwave failed to cooperate with our efforts to verify their compliance with our policies, which we require of all developers using our platform,” Jessica Romero, Director of Platform Enforcement and Litigation said in a statement on late Friday.

She added that Facebook has already suspended apps and accounts associated with Rankwave.

“The lawsuit asks the court to enforce the basic cooperation terms that Rankwave agreed to in exchange for the opportunity to operate apps on the platform,” Romero noted.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook’s lawsuit centres around Rankwave offering to help businesses build a Facebook authorization step into their apps so they can pass all the user data to Rankwave.

“It then analyzes biographic and behavioural traits to supply user contact info and ad targeting assistance to the business,” the report said.

“That app could pull data about your Facebook activity such as location checkins, determine that you’ve checked into a baseball stadium, and then Rankwave could help its clients target you with ads for baseball tickets,” the report noted.

Rankwave’s Android app asks for users’ Facebook data in exchange for providing them a “Social Influencer Score”.

“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,” said the social network giant.

Facebook recently announced to ban personality quiz apps on its platform — a move taken after the Cambridge Analytica scandal last year that helped researchers access personal information of 87 million users via the quiz app “thisisyourdigitallife”.

Federal prosecutors in the US are now probing whether top executives of Facebook were aware of data harvesting by the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.