Facebook documents seized by MPs using rare Parliamentary mechanism

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A cache of internal Facebook documents has been dramatically seized using Parliament's legal powers as MPs probe the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

The documents reportedly contain "significant revelations" about Facebook decisions on data and privacy control related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, as well as correspondence between top executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, The Guardian reported Saturday. The site claims the documents include confidential emails between executives, including Zuckerberg himself.

The UK parliamentary committee investigating "fake news" compelled the founder of a software company to hand over documents linked to a legal dispute the company has with Facebook in the United States.

In an exceedingly uncommon move, the House of Commons serjeant-at-arms was sent to the businessperson's inn, and he was given the last cautioning and a two-hour due date to agree to the request.

Collins' seizure, however, did not take place against Facebook itself; rather, the documents have been seized from USA software development company Six4Three after having been obtained as part of the discovery process in a lawsuit against Facebook.

Facebook, as is to be expected, is unimpressed: The company has written to Collins and Parliament asking that the documentation is placed off-limits and returned to the company, having been already the subject of a protective order by the San Mateo Superior Court.

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In a letter to Allan, Collins said the seized material "could contain important information of a high public interest" about Facebook's "policies on sharing user data with developers, how these have been enforced, and how the company identifies activity by bad actors".

Mr Collins told the Observer: "We are in uncharted territory".

The app maker, Six4Three, had acquired the files as part of a United States lawsuit against the social media giant.

He said Facebook had some "very serious questions" to answer and accused it of misleading the committee over Russian involvement on the platform.

A BRITISH MP today claimed Facebook knew about potentially malicious Russian activity in 2014, long before such activity becomes public, during a parliamentary hearing where global lawmakers grilled the company. "We have no further comment".

What next? The committee will instead grill Facebook's public policy VP Richard Allan tomorrow, November 27, during a hearing focused on misinformation and data privacy.

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