The British MP Damian Collins, head of a parliamentary inquiry into disinformation, revealed that one of the emails seized from US software company Six4Three as part of a US lawsuit, demonstrates that a Facebook engineer had notified the social network giant in October 2014 that Russian IP addresses were accessing “three billion data points a day” on the network.
“British MPs joined together with fellow lawmakers from the parliaments of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Latvia and Singapore in an unusual move aimed at emphasising international solidarity on the issue.” reported AFP press.
The information was shared during an international hearing that parliament hosted on Tuesday to gather info into disinformation and “fake news.”
The emails confirmed that Facebook was aware of the activities carried out by Russian threat actors in 2014 when they accessed a huge amount of data from the social media company.
“If Russian IP addresses were pulling down a huge amount of data from the platform was that reported or was that just kept, as so often seems to be the case, within the family and not talked about,” Collins asked Richard Allan, Facebook’s Vice President of Policy Solutions.
Richard Allan, Facebook’s Vice President of Policy Solutions, that represents the company replied that information could be used to provide a distorted interpretation of events.
“Any information you have seen… is at best partial and at worst potentially misleading” replied Allan. The emails were “unverified partial accounts”.
Allan also defended Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has refused to appear before the British parliamentary inquiry.
Since the disclosure of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal and the alleged interference in the 2016 Presidential election, Facebook data protection policies were questioned by intelligence analysts and privacy advocates.
“While we were playing with our phones and apps, our democratic institutions… seem to have been upended by fratboy billionaires in California”. Charlie Angus from Canada’s House of Commons told Allan.
Catherine Morin-Desailly from the French Senate classified the Facebook data protection approach as “a scandal”, other lawmakers condemned the way Facebook shared user data with third-party companies.