Report: Facebook Knew About Cambridge Analytica Data Harvesting Months Before Public Reports

Facebook has been plagued by major privacy scandals over the past several years, but perhaps none made a bigger impact than the Cambridge Analytica controversy last spring. It caused an uproar among the public and lawmakers alike when it was revealed the political marketing firm had harvested information from tens of millions of users without their consent. Now, according to attorneys for the District of Columbia, Facebook employees knew what Cambridge Analytica was up to months before it became public knowledge.

This revelation came to light as part of a lawsuit filed by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, who is suing Facebook for “unlawful trade practices.” According to Racine’s filing, his office possesses documents containing email exchanges between Facebook employees — some of which reveal the company knew Cambridge Analytica was violating its privacy policies.

The filing states that these messages are “candid employee assessments that multiple third-party applications accessed and sold consumer data in violation of Facebook’s policies during the 2016 United States Presidential Election… It also indicates Facebook knew of Cambridge Analytica’s improper data-gathering practices months before news outlets reported on the issue.”

Facebook is already in trouble over its data practices, and news like this won’t help it claim innocence — not to mention making it harder for the company to regain user trust.

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