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Facebook Sues South Korean Firm For Data Misuse

Facebook has filed a lawsuit against a South Korean data analytics company for breaching its data policies for developers, as well as refusing to agree to a mandatory audit.

The social media giant announced that it filed a lawsuit in California state court against Rankwave, which has been running apps on the Facebook platform since 2014. The company was investigating Rankwave’s data practices related to its advertising and marketing services, but the South Korean company refused to cooperate with Facebook’s efforts to verify that it was complying with its policies. As a result, Facebook suspended Rankwave’s apps and any accounts associated with it.

The “suit asks the court to enforce the basic cooperation terms that Rankwave agreed to in exchange for the opportunity to operate apps on the platform,” said Jessica Romero, director of platform enforcement and litigation for Facebook, in a press release. “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.”

Financial Times reported that, according to the court filing, Rankwave has been using Facebook data that it collected from its apps “for its own business purposes,” including providing consulting services to advertisers and marketers, which is a violation of Facebook’s policies.

“Rankwave’s misconduct [has also] harmed Facebook’s reputation, public trust and goodwill, and caused Facebook to spend resources investigating and redressing Rankwave’s wrongful conduct,” said Facebook in the filing, adding that Rankwave “unjustly enriched” itself to $9.8 million via its wrongful use of the site’s data.

In addition to asking for the court to enforce “the basic cooperation terms,” the company is seeking unspecified damages, as well as a recouping of the $9.8 million that it alleged Rankwave profited from through the use of its data.

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