Facebook was informed that the app at the centre of a massive data leak could sell user data to third parties, according to documents seen by the Financial Times, raising fresh questions about how the company protects its users’ data. The social network was sent terms and conditions for the second version of the survey app, which pulled user data that was then leaked to Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm.
These contradicted Facebook’s own platform policies, according to Chris Wylie, the former Cambridge Analytica employee turned whistleblower. But the social network relied on an automated process to accept updates, so no employee at Facebook may have seen the app’s new policy, which disclosed that it could sell and transfer the data. The first version of the app, which was reviewed by Facebook, said the opposite: it claimed to be a “research program” and said “users will be informed that the data will be carefully protected and never used for commercial purposes”, the social network said.