The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is worried that internal emails could show that CEO Mark Zuckerberg was aware of the company’s questionable privacy practices.
In an article titled “Facebook Worries Emails Could Show Zuckerberg Knew of Questionable Privacy Practices,” the Wall Street Journal claims that according to sources, Facebook Inc. has found emails that appear to show that company CEO Mark Zuckerberg knew more about the firms questionable privacy practices than previously thought and are worried about how this will affect the firm from a public relations standpoint.
The WSJ writes:
Within the company, the unearthing of the emails in the process of responding to a continuing federal privacy investigation has raised concerns that they would be harmful to Facebook—at least from a public-relations standpoint—if they were to become public, one of the people said.
The potential impact of the internal emails has been a factor in the tech giant’s desire to reach a speedy settlement of the investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, one of the people said. Facebook is operating under a 2012 consent decree with the agency related to privacy, and the emails sent around that time suggest that Mr. Zuckerberg and other senior executives didn’t make compliance with the FTC order a priority, the people said.
Currently, Facebook is cooperating with the FTC investigation which pertains to the company’s handling of personal user data, including in reference to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, but is maintaining that Zuckerberg had no knowledge of the extent of user data mishandling.
“We have fully cooperated with the FTC’s investigation to date and provided tens of thousands of documents, emails and files. We are continuing to work with them and hope to bring this matter to an appropriate resolution,” a Facebook spokesperson said on Tuesday in a statement. On Wednesday, after publication of this article, the company sent an additional statement, saying: “At no point did Mark or any other Facebook employee knowingly violate the company’s obligations under the FTC consent order nor do any emails exist that indicate they did.”
Facebook is facing multiple other investigations and lawsuits relating to user data practices, both in the U.S. and worldwide:
Sealed American court documents obtained and made public by the British Parliament show Facebook sought to expand its access to users’ data without informing them and snooped on mobile phone users’ activities on other platforms.
In the U.S., the attorney general of Washington, D.C., Karl Racine, is suing the company over the Cambridge Analytica matter, alleging in a recent filing that Facebook’s staffers were aware that its data was being misused for political purposes as early as 2015.
Facebook is fighting the D.C. lawsuit and has disputed that the company knew of the Cambridge Analytica misconduct in 2015. The company has called the documents obtained by U.K. officials “cherry-picked” and misleading.
Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org