Facebook sues Ukrainian app developers for scraping user data


In the complaint, the company has claimed that in total, both of these accused used Facebook users to use around 63 thousand browsers and damaged Facebook 75 thousand pounds. That allowed the developers to scrape information from a user's page as well as those of any friends to whom they were connected on the social networking site.

The quizzes, with titles such as "Who is your first, last, and the only love?" and "Who is your doppelganger from the past?", gained access to this information via the Facebook Login system - which enables connections between third-party apps and Facebook profiles.

The complaint says these hackers scraped public profile information and non-publicly viewable lists of friends, in addition to serving their own ads instead of official Facebook-approved ones.

Only then were victims able to get down to the really important matter of the day: what kind of dog they were according to their zodiac sign, and what their intellectual age was. The hackers used the obtained data to target Facebook's users with a malicious request to install a browser extension.

The social media giant claims that the two individuals used quiz apps as well as malicious browser extensions to scoop up private data from 63,000 users, and then use that data for advertising purposes. This amount according to the civil complaint was what Facebook spent in removing the malicious plugins from its website a year ago.

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The report comes as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has emphasised the importance of personal messaging apps.

If this scenario sounds in any way familiar that's because Cambridge Analytica came under fire for similar practices in 2018 when it was discovered the company accessed tens of millions of Facebook user profiles after quizzes were taken by unsuspecting users.

In a lawsuit filed by Facebook on Friday, Facebook has said that entrepreneurs living in Kiev have violated California and anti-hacking laws and will be prosecuted for violating Facebook's rules. These browser plugins offered personality quizzes to users on installation.

From the implications of the lawsuit, Facebook may have allowed these hackers into their network by approving them as developers. The defendant may not face serious consequences, but it will give Facebook the leverage to defend itself.