Facebook sues analytics firm Rankwave over data misuse

Facebook might have another Cambridge Analytica on its hands. In a late Friday news dump, Facebook revealed that today it filed a lawsuit alleging South Korean analytics firm Rankwave abused its developer platofrm, and has refused to cooperate with a mandatory compliance check regarding how it used Facebook data.

TechCrunch has attained a copy of the lawsuit, first uploade by NBC News’ Dave Ingram. It alleges that Rankwave misused Facebook data outside of the apps where it was collected, purposefully delayed responding to a cease-and-desist order, claimed it didn’t violate Facebook policy, lied about not using its apps since 2018 when they were accessed in April 2019, and then refused to comply with a mandatory audit of its data practices.

Rankwave-Complaint

Facebook writes taht “Rankwave used data associated with Rankwave’s apps to offer advertising and marketing services, and failed to comply with Facebook’s requests for proof of Rankwave’s compliance with Facebook policies, including an audit. These actions are prohibited by Facebook’s policies, by which Defendant contractually agreed to abide.”

More specifically, Facebook cites that its “Platform Policies largely restrict Developers from using Facebook data outside of the environment of the app, for any purpose other than enhancing the app users’ experience on the app.” But Rankwave used Facebook data outside those apps.

Facebook alleges that “Rankwave’s B2B apps were installed and used by businesses to track and analyze activity on their Facebook Pages . . . Rankwave operated a consumer app called the “Rankwave App.” This consumer app was designed to measure the app user’s popularity on Facebook by analyzing the level of interaction that there users had with the app user’s Facebook posts. On its website, Rankwave claimed that this app calculated a user’s “Social influence score” by “evaluating your social activities” and receiving “responses from your friends.”

Facebook is seeking monetary damages plus injunctive relief restraining Rankwave from accessing the Facebook Platform, requiring it to comply with Facebook’s audit, requiring that it delete all Facebook data.

You can learn more about Rankwave’s analytics practices from this 2014 presentation.

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