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MAY 26, 2018
Zukerberg and others are guilty and should be punished. Mark Zuckerberg faces allegations that he developed a malicious and fraudulent scheme to exploit vast amounts of private data to earn Facebook billions and force rivals out of business. A company suing Facebook in a California court claims the social networks chief executive weaponised the ability to access data from any users network of friends the feature at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
A legal motion filed last week in the superior court of San Mateo draws upon extensive confidential emails and messages between Facebook senior executives including Mark Zuckerberg. He is named individually in the case and, it is claimed, had personal oversight of the scheme. Facebook rejects all claims, and has made a motion to have the case dismissed using a free speech defence. It claims the first amendment protects its right to make editorial decisions as it sees fit. Zuckerberg and other senior executives have asserted that Facebook is a platform not a publisher, most recently in testimony to Congress.
Heather Whitney, a legal scholar who has written about social media companies for the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, said, in her opinion, this exposed a potential tension for Facebook. Facebooks claims in court that it is an editor for first amendment purposes and thus free to censor and alter the content available on its site is in tension with their, especially recent, claims before the public and US Congress to be neutral platforms.
The company that has filed the case, a former
startup called Six4Three, is now trying to stop Facebook from having the
case thrown out and has submitted legal arguments that draw on thousands
of emails, the details of which are currently redacted. Facebook has until
next Tuesday to file a motion requesting that the evidence remains sealed,
otherwise the documents will be made public.