Story image

Facebook sues South Korean analytics firm Rankwave

13 May 2019

As Facebook faces even more heat about its role as a company of dubious morale, it seems the company wants to prove that it’s at least trying to do the right thing.

Last week the company filed a lawsuit against South Korean data analytics Rankwave, whose apps used the Facebook platform.

According to Facebook, Rankwave used data collected from its app on the Facebook platform to create and sell advertising, as well as marketing analytics and models – actions that breach Facebook’s policies.

Facebook’s director of platform enforcement and litigation, Jessica Romero, says Rankwave refused to cooperate with Facebook’s investigation into the company.

“Facebook was investigating Rankwave’s data practices in relation to its advertising and marketing services. Rankwave failed to cooperate with our efforts to verify their compliance with our policies, which we require of all developers using our platform,” Romero writes in a Facebook blog.

The investigation began in June 2018 after Rankwave was acquired by a ‘Korean entertainment company’. Facebook estimated that data associated with Rankwave apps totalled about US$9.8 million.

However, Rankwave allegedly used data gleaned from Facebook Pages to provide its own consulting services to advertising and marketing companies, which is prohibited by Facebook.

“Facebook has already suspended apps and accounts associated with Rankwave, and today’s 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.”

Despite several attempts to contact Rankwave, the company did not respond. The company eventually argued that it ‘needed more time’. In February, the company claimed it hadn’t done anything wrong – but failed to provide proof.

Rankwave has also failed to comply with a number of Facebook’s other requests. Facebook argues that this has harmed its business reputation, trust, and goodwill.

Inasmuch as the lawsuit is taking action against a specific company about its wrongdoings, it seems that Facebook is also trying to make a point about what will happen if companies don't comply with its policies.

“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," writes Romero.

Facebook is doubtless being careful about the saga, after the Cambridge Analytica mishap that happened early last year. Cambridge Analytica used Facebook users’ data to launch political campaigns related to Donald Trump. 

Facebook recently declared that it is also putting more focus on user privacy, thanks in part to pressure from the European Commission.

Sony and Microsoft to explore strategic partnership
“Our partnership brings the power of Azure and Azure AI to Sony."
Hands-on PSVR preview: Blood & Truth
PlayStation VR fans who picked up a copy of VR Worlds with their headset will have had a taster of SIE London Studio’s Blood & Truth.
Google puts Huawei on the Android naughty list
Google has apparently suspended Huawei’s licence to use the full Android platform, according to media reports.
Govt & Canterbury Uni pour $7m into gaming research
The funding will be used to boost the University of Canterbury’s Applied Immersive Gaming Initiative, which will research and accelerate public use of immersing gaming applications.
This Feilding school has just won an international robotics award (again!)
“In typical Kiwi fashion, our students think laterally to solve challenges, build prototypes, test and retest until they have a working model. All on their own time and all with their own ideas."
New educational game to boost construction skills shortage
The game has been designed to give future business people and construction workers a taste of what it’s like to build their own company.
DJI launches Osmo Action - a handheld action cam with a difference
Hold on to your skis, snowboards, or your camera-mounted stunt cars, because DJI has launched Osmo Action camera.
Study finds NZ mobile services in good stead due to competition
The study found indicators such as pricing, coverage and choice of mobile services were trending in a positive direction for consumers.