• Follow us

Social Media

Facebook sues analytics firm Rankwave over data misuse – TechCrunch

Facebook might have another Cambridge Analytica on its hands. In a late Friday news dump, Facebook revealed that today it filed a lawsuit alleging South Korean analytics firm Rankwave abused its developer platform’s data, and has refused to cooperate with a mandatory compliance audit and request to delete the data.

Facebook’s lawsuit centers around Rankwave offering to help businesses build a Facebook authorization step into their apps so they can pass all the user data to Rankwave, which then analyzes biographic and behavioral traits to supply user contact info and ad targeting assistance to the business. Rankwave also apparently misused data sucked in by its own consumer app for checking your social media “influencer score”. That app could pull data about your Facebook activity such as location checkins, determine that you’ve checked into a baseball stadium, and then Rankwave could help its clients target you with ads for baseball tickets.

The use of a seemingly fun app to slurp up user data and repurpose it for other business goals is strikingly similar to how Cambridge Analytica’s personality quiz app tempted millions of users to provide data about themselves and their friends.

Rankwave touts its Facebook data usage in this 2014 pitch deck

TechCrunch has attained a copy of the lawsuit that alleges that Rankwave misused Facebook data outside of the apps where it was collected, purposefully delayed responding to a cease-and-desist order, claimed it didn’t violate Facebook policy, lied about not using its apps since 2018 when they were accessed in April 2019, and then refused to comply with a mandatory audit of its data practices. Facebook Platform data is not supposed to be repurposed for other business goals, only for the developer to improve their app’s user experience.

“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” Facebook’s director of platform enforcement and litigation Jessica Romero wrote. Facebook tells TechCrunch that “To date Rankwave has not participated in our investigation and we are trying to get more info from them to determine if there was any misuse of Pages data.” We’ve reached out to Rankwave for its response.

Cambridge Analytic-ish

Facebook’s lawsuit details that “Rankwave used the Facebook data associated with Rankwave’s apps to create and sell advertising and marketing analytics and models — which violated Facebook’s policies and terms” and that it “failed to comply with Facebook’s requests for proof of Rankwave’s compliance with Facebook policies, including an audit.” Rankwave apparently accessed data from over thirty apps, including those created by its clients.

Specifically, Facebook cites that its “Platform Policies largely restrict Developers from using Facebook data outside of the environment of the app, for any purpose other than enhancing the app users’ experience on the app.” But Rankwave allegedly used Facebook data outside those apps.

Rankwave describes how it extracts contact info and ad targeting data from Facebook data

Facebook’s suit claims that “Rankwave’s B2B apps were installed and used by businesses to track and analyze activity on their Facebook Pages . . . Rankwave operated a consumer app called the ‘Rankwave App.’ This consumer app was designed to measure the app user’s popularity on Facebook by analyzing the level of interaction that other users had with the app user’s Facebook posts. On its website, Rankwave claimed that this app calculated a user’s ‘Social influence score’ by ‘evaluating your social activities’ and receiving ‘responses from your friends.'”

TechCrunch has found that Rankwave still offers an Android app that asks for you to login with Facebook so it can assess the popularity of your posts and give you a “Social Influencer Score”. Until 2015 when Facebook tightened its policies, this kind of app could ingest not only a user’s own data but that about their Facebook friends. As with Cambridge Analytica, this likely massively compounded Rankwave’s total data access.

Rankwave’s Android app asks for users’ Facebook data in exchange for providing them a Social Influencer Score

Facebook Delays Coming After Rankwave

Founded in 2012 by Sungwha Shim, Rankwave came into Facebook’s crosshairs in June 2018 after it was sold to a Korean entertainment company in May 2017. Facebook assesses that the value of its data at the time of the buyout was $9.8 million.

Worryingly, Facebook didn’t reach out to Rankwave until January 2019 for information proving it complied with the social network’s policies. After receiving no response, Facebook issued a cease-and-desist order in February, which Rankwave replied to seeking more time because it’s CTO had resigned, which Facebook calls “false representations”. Later that month, Rankwave denied violating Facebook’s policies but refused to provide proof. Facebook gave it more time to provide proof, but Rankwave didn’t respond. Facebook has now shut down Rankwave’s apps.

Rankwave claims to be able to extract a wide array of ad targeting data from Facebook data

Now Facebook is seeking money to cover the $9.8 million value of the data, additional monetary damages and legal fees, plus injunctive relief restraining Rankwave from accessing the Facebook Platform, requiring it to comply with Facebook’s audit, requiring that it delete all Facebook data.

The fact that Rankwave was openly promoting these services that blatantly violate Facebook’s policies casts further doubt on how the social network was policing its platform. And the six month delay between Facebook identifying a potential issue with Rankwave and it even reaching out for information, plus another several months before it blocked Rankwave’s app shows a failure to move swiftly to enforce its policies. These blunders might explain why Facebook buried the news by announcing it on a Friday afternoon when many reporters and readers have already signed off for the weekend.

For now there’s no evidence of wholesale transfer of Rankwave’s data to other parties or its misuse for especially nefarious purposes like influencing an election as with Cambridge Analytica. The lawsuit merely alleges data was wrongly harnessed to make money, which may not spur the same level of backlash. But the case further proves that Facebook was too busy growing itself thanks to the platform to properly safeguard it against abuse.

You can learn more about Rankwave’s analytics practices from this 2014 presentation.

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

TechCrunch » Social

On the Internet of Women with Moira Weigel 2019-05-20 12:15:26“Feminism,” the writer and editor Marie Shear famously said in an often-misattributed quote, “is the radical notion that women are p

TikTok owner ByteDance’s long-awaited chat app is here 2019-05-19 22:49:55In WeChat -dominated China, there’s no shortage of challengers out there claiming to create an alternative social experience. The latest creatio

Facebook changes algorithm to promote worthwhile & close 2019-05-16 11:14:04Facebook is updating the News Feed ranking algorithm to incorporate data from surveys about who you say are your closest friends and which links you f

Instagram adds Stories to Explore tab. Here’s how 2019-05-16 09:59:47Instagram’s pivot to Stories continues with an overhaul of Explore designed to let users dig deeper into their niche interests. Stories are now

Instagram is killing Direct, its standalone Snapchat clone 2019-05-16 07:09:53As Facebook pushes ahead with its strategy to consolidate more of the backend of its various apps on to a single platform, it’s also doing a lit

Facebook introduces ‘one strike’ policy to combat abuse 2019-05-15 02:09:27Facebook is cracking down on its live-streaming service after it was used to broadcast the shocking mass shootings that left 50 dead at two Christchur

Twitter launches new search features to stop the 2019-05-14 23:05:26As measles outbreaks in the United States and other countries continue to get worse, Twitter is introducing new search tools meant to help users find

Uber Black launches Quiet Driver Mode 2019-05-14 20:02:46Tired of chatty drivers? Uber is finally giving users its most requested feature: an in-app way to ask for minimal conversation during your ride. The

After year-long lockout, Twitter is finally giving people 2019-05-14 14:29:38Twitter is finally allowing a number of locked users to regain control of their accounts once again. Around a  year after Europe’s new priv

World leaders ask tech giants to tackle toxic 2019-05-14 13:36:25On Wednesday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will ask tech companies to sign a pledge called the Christchurch Call, as The New York Times p

Twitter’s new Developer Labs offers beta access to 2019-05-14 12:59:43Twitter is finally modernizing its core APIs after seven years of stagnation, and it wants early feedback from developers. That’s why today it&r

LinkedIn integrates and updates jobs and hiring platforms, 2019-05-14 08:58:43LinkedIn, the social networking platform for the working world that’s now owned by Microsoft, has leveraged its role as a repository for people&

Mashable

Dell XPS Desktop, Fire TV Stick, Dyson Cyclone 2019-05-22 05:06:27Has your desktop had its days? If you are looking for an upgrade, we have found a great deal on a Dell XSP Tower. It retails for $1000, but there is c

5 password managers on sale 2019-05-22 05:00:00Still filling in passwords manually? Is your fallback password still "PASSWORD" or "NOTMYPASSWORD"? That's basically irrefutable proof you should

Raspberry Pi kits and courses on sale 2019-05-22 05:00:00Here's a toughie: What do a coffee-making robot, a GIF-printing camera, a smartwatch that runs Windows 98, and "Furlexa" — that is, a Furby e

'Game of Thrones' finale defended by 'Seinfeld' star 2019-05-22 00:36:27Game of Thrones is done and dusted, wrapping up its polarising eighth and final season with an equally debated finale. While many have criticised the

Google stored some users' passwords in plain text 2019-05-22 00:29:53Google has revealed it had left some business users' passwords exposed in plain text. In a blog post on Tuesday, the tech giant said it had discovere

Amazon prevails in battle with South American countries 2019-05-21 17:39:12E-commerce giant Amazon has prevailed in its domain name battle with Amazon, the geographic region in South America. The Internet Corporation for Assi

Ben Carson mixed up the real estate term 2019-05-21 17:32:14Can you picture a scenario in which Oreo cookies are discussed at a House Financial Services Committee hearing? No? That's OK. No need to imagine hyp

Dungeons & Dragons Ruined My Life 2019-05-21 17:10:11 Read more...More about Dungeons Dragons, Mashable Reels, Entertainment, and Gaming

Tesla releases DIY guides for Model 3 maintenance 2019-05-21 17:08:02Tesla is embracing the growing demand for consumers to be able to fix stuff themselves by releasing a series of do-it-yourself guides for the Model 3.

Best graduation gifts for him: 50+ gift ideas 2019-05-21 16:29:39Every year, graduation season means a fresh new batch of grads are about to enter full-on adulthood. If you know a guy who is gearing up to walk acros

Kit Harington, Sophie Turner respond to critics of 2019-05-21 16:20:22Game of Thrones actors Kit Harington and Sophie Turner are responding to criticism on the HBO show's ending, defending the hard work the cast and cre

Comcast, a trusted company, wants to monitor you 2019-05-21 16:14:43It looks like you fell down. Someone will be there between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to assist you.  Yes, that's right, everyone's favorite and defini

The Next Web

The future of AI is collaborative 2019-05-21 12:16:28AI is becoming increasingly widespread, affecting all facets of society — even Sonic drive-ins are planning to implement artificial intelligence

The new Honor 20 series has great specs, 2019-05-21 12:10:41It’s a bit of a tough time for Huawei‘s budget sub brand Honor to release its latest flagship phone, but, the show must go on. And, to be

Research reveals surprising relationship between climate change and 2019-05-21 11:04:49Climate change will shape every aspect of human life – often in complex ways. Take the question of deciding how many children to have, for examp

The Roadblocks to European Fintech Expansion 2019-05-21 11:01:15“The US market is vast. There are a lot of consumers in the US that use outdated technologies, and from that perspective we see huge potential h

How the messaging app ‘bthere’ became a sexual 2019-05-21 10:52:05For the ongoing series, Code Word, we’re exploring if — and how — technology can protect individuals against sexual assault and hara

Game of Thrones’ Bronn becomes Master of VeganCoin 2019-05-21 10:18:59Before you read this, beware there might be Game of Thrones spoilers in this piece. The actor that played one of the more Machiavellian characters in

Google searches for how to cancel HBO spiked 2019-05-21 10:06:23BEWARE! If you haven’t finished Game of Thrones yet, there might be some spoilers in here. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Been on the

Dear NY Post, didn’t you learn anything about 2019-05-21 10:05:20It’s that time of the year: NY Post’s in-house cryptocurrency pseudosopher John Crudele has published his annual diatribe against Bitcoin.

TikTok’s owner is reportedly launching a music streaming 2019-05-21 09:45:42Yesterday, Chinese company ByteDance – which owns TikTok, Helo, and Vigo Video – launched a chat app called Flipchat. Now, a new repo

Dutch man conned investors out of $26M with 2019-05-21 08:59:55A man from Apeldoorn, Netherlands has been arrested for fraud and money laundering after convincing over 100 people to invest a total of $26 million i

I’m walking Huawei: here are 4 great Android 2019-05-20 12:08:53Huawei‘s in a spot of bother. Google has suspended its business operations with the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, meaning Huawei no longer ha

Listen, parents, here are 3 reasons you shouldn’t 2019-05-20 11:52:45The use of self-tracking and personal surveillance technologies has grown considerably over the last decade. There are now apps to monitor people&rsqu

Entrepreneur

Study Finds Marijuana Users Have Better Chance of 2019-05-21 14:00:00How cannabis could impact heart health is a major area of study for researchers.

How to Become More Mindful and Make Better 2019-05-21 13:30:00Practice these tips to feel more at peace.

Ecommerce Analytics: 4 Metrics That Are Often Overlooked 2019-05-21 12:00:00Are you keeping track of customer lifetime value and customer acquisition cost? It's high time you did.

How to Create Your First Successful Business Plan 2019-05-21 11:30:00Entrepreneurial expert Chris Haroun uses his patented process to help make your new business plan a reality.

Will Your Product Launch Be a Success? 4 2019-05-21 11:00:00The truth is, most product launches fail for two very simple reasons, both of which you've heard about time and time again.

How to Help Other People Be Successful 2019-05-21 10:30:00This CEO breaks down some of the common challenges a business might face in its early stages.

To Break up the Boys' Club, Ladies, Why 2019-05-21 10:30:00Women in VC roles can't rely on public relations fixes, token nods or the chivalry of their male colleagues. They have to do it themselves.

Sony Just Laid Out Everything There Is to 2019-05-21 10:03:14Expect the PlayStation 4 to stick around for at least three more years.

Here's How Rita Moreno's 'Sweatshop Seamstress' Mother Inspired 2019-05-21 09:37:00The screen icon gave kudos to her mom while accepting the Peabody's Career Achievement Award.

Follow These Strategies to Recruit and Retain Employees 2019-05-21 09:30:00Here are three strategies for recruiting and retaining successful employees.

How to Become the Person Everyone Roots For 2019-05-21 09:00:00Good things don't just happen. They happen to people who hustle for them.

Everything You Need To Know To Pitch An 2019-05-21 09:00:00Asking investors to fund your business is uncomfortable, intimidating, and at times even excruciating. Here's how to make it better, according to And


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.