Where some see data suppression, Facebook says it was only following privacy policy

An article appearing in the Washington Post about Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election says Facebook ascrubbeda thousands of organic posts associated with accounts used by Russian operatives. The implication is that Facebook is suppressing information to avoid further embarrassment or negative PR.

Facebook told Marketing Land that the Post article doesn’t reflect what actually happened. The company explained it ais cooperating fully with federal investigations and providing info to the relevant authorities.a

I spoke at some duration with a Facebook spokesperson on the record and on background. CrowdTangle was appropriate tools used to unearth the disputed posts. The browser plug-in was acquired by Facebook in roughly November 2016.

I was also told by Facebook that the accounts in question were all ainactive, a which means they were either deleted or deactivated by the Page administrator or in some manner violated Facebookas terms of service and deactivated by the company.

Facebookas privacy policy requires that inactive or deleted accounts be removed from public access or opinion. According to the company, the inactive accounts and their related posts should not have been accessible at all a anywhere — regardless of their contents. However CrowdTangle was able to discover and retrieve cached pages from these inactive accounts.

The problem was been characterised by Facebook as a abug.a It was more like an inconsistency between Facebookas privacy policy and what CrowdTangle could access. That inconsistency was not uncovered, Facebook says, until the inactive account posts were discovered by social media analyst Jonathan Albright.

Admittedly Facebookas explanation has a dubious quality about it. But the company says thereas no endeavor here to suppress or conceal info. Rather it was seeking to comply with its own privacy policies.

Hereas the official statement provided by Facebookas spokesperson 😛 TAGEND

We identified and fixed a glitch in CrowdTangle that allowed users to ensure cached datum from all inactive Facebook Pages. Across all our platforms we have privacy commitments to make all inactive content, that is no longer available, inaccessible. With this fix, the information from all Inactive Pages will now not be available.

Facebook also indicated to me one reason the CrowdTangle abuga had not previously been discovered is because the tool is rarely used to look for historical information. Most marketers and journalists use it for real-time information and content discovery.

In words of any concerns this might trigger for marketers, there should be none. The posts in question were from inactive accounts and Facebook says that there are no data removals or purges for active accounts.

Read more: marketingland.com

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