What’s a company to do with all that Facebook Data?

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Facebook already has been buried in an avalanche of other lawsuits filed in federal and state courts, as well as regulatory investigations in both USA and Europe into whether the company has violated laws by repeatedly allowing unauthorized access to the personal information of the almost 2.3 billion people on its private network.

The lawsuit filed in the DC Superior Court seeks an injunction "to ensure Facebook puts in place protocols and safeguards to monitor users' data and to make it easier for users to control their privacy settings", and "restitution" for consumers.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said on Tuesday the social media giant is committed to protecting the civil rights of its users, following a report that found Russian-backed actors largely targeted black users' data in hopes of influencing the 2016 presidential election.

The firm used a benign-looking quiz app to gather information on Facebook users and their friends, including names, locations, religious and political affiliations and educational backgrounds.

Earlier this year, Facebook announced that an audit by PriceWaterhouseCoopers revealed that Facebook does not provide user data to third-party applications.

While some of the deals date back as far as 2010, the Times said they remained active as late as 2017 - and some were still in effect this year.

It remains unclear, however, whether the allegations that are being made against Facebook in the District of Columbia and in other complaints were against the law at the time, said Dora Kingsley Vertenten, professor of public policy at the University of Southern California.

This also raises questions about whether Facebook ran afoul of a 2011 consent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission that barred the social network from sharing user data without explicit permission.

"We've been public about these features and partnerships over the years because we wanted people to actually use them. they were discussed, reviewed, and scrutinized by a wide variety of journalists and privacy advocates".

He said that the partnerships were "one area of focus" and that Facebook was in the process of winding many of them down.

"We know we've got work to do to regain people's trust", Mr Satterfield said, while acknowledging missteps of the company over the past year. And probably most galling is that Netflix, Spotify -and for some reason the Royal Bank of Canada - were given the ability to read users' private messages.

Facebook did not immediately respond to requests.