Aug 5, 2021

Facebook: Damian Collins and US politicians criticise data ban

Facebook's decision to block access to some academics researching political ads and disinformation has been criticised by UK and US politicians. Facebook has accused researchers from New York University's Cybersecurity for Democracy team of collecting user data without consent. The team's project asks people to install the extension, which then enables them to share information with researchers about the Facebook ads they see. Cybersecurity for Democracy projects have included research into misleading political ads, right-wing misinformation and false claims about vaccines and Covid-19.But Facebook's product management director Mike Clark blogged that research should not happen at the expense of people's privacy, and said they had violated the company's terms of service. According to Facebook, the browser extension collected information about the publisher of each ad without their consent, including at least their first and last names, user name, Facebook ID, and link to profile photo.

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