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Facebook Suspends Apps That Scrape Data From Its Platform Following Cambridge Analytica Scandal

September 20, 2019 Articles

Facebook announced today that it has suspended tens of thousands of apps from interoperating with the Facebook platform alleging misuse of Facebook members’ personal data. This is a continuation of the Cambridge Analytica saga that has plagued Facebook since the 2016 presidential election. Earlier this year, the FTC levied a record-breaking $5 billion fine on Facebook for its misuse of member personal information.

After announcing this recent round of app developer terminations, at least one app developer trapped in Facebook’s dragnet has cried foul and filed a complaint claiming that it did nothing wrong. Stating that it only uses publicly available information from Facebook and that Facebook had thoroughly vetted its application as part of its various partner programs, and arguing further that Facebook is a monopolist using "scorched earth” tactics, the app developer is demanding that it be allowed to continue accessing data from Facebook.

The new case is likely to build from the hiQ Labs v. LinkedIn precedent, in which hiQ Labs, a venture capital-backed app developer represented by Farella Braun + Martel, obtained a preliminary injunction preventing LinkedIn from terminating its access to LinkedIn member public profile information. hiQ raised sufficient questions as to whether LinkedIn could utilize the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, an anti-hacking statute from the eighties, to restrict hiQ's access to member profiles that the profile owner had expressly designated public. Furthermore, hiQ raised sufficient questions as to whether LinkedIn’s motives in terminating hiQ were anti-competitive and constituted an intentional interference with hiQ’s economic relationships. In light of these questions and the irreparable harm that LinkedIn’s actions would cause hiQ, the court enjoined LinkedIn to allow hiQ to continue accessing member public profiles on the LinkedIn platform.

The Ninth Circuit recently affirmed the injunction against LinkedIn. See opinion, here.

Firm Highlights

Publication

Platform Ecosystems: Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Other Scraping Law Developments (Webinar)

Stephanie Skaff and Erik Olson discuss "Platform Ecosystems: Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Other Scraping Law Developments." Web scraping has existed as long as the World Wide Web has, and as data has...

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News

Janice Reicher Named a 2022 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow

Farella Braun + Martel is proud to announce that Janice Reicher has been named a member of the 2022 class of Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellows. Janice joins a select group of...

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SCOTUS Copyright Fair Use Decision: Google vs. Oracle Recap and Takeaways

Eugene Mar and Erik Olson discuss "SCOTUS Copyright Fair Use Decision: Google vs. Oracle Recap and Takeaways." After more than a decade of litigation that included multiple trials and appeals, the Supreme Court of...

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Platform Ecosystems – The Landscape of US and EU Legislation (Webinar)

Stephanie Skaff and Nate Garhart discuss "Platform Ecosystems – The Landscape of US and EU Legislation." Several new bills targeting online platform companies are making their way through state and federal legislative bodies in the...

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Farella Names Ashley Breakfield and Cynthia Castillo As Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Pathfinders

Farella Braun + Martel is proud to announce that senior associates  Ashley Breakfield and Cynthia Castillo were selected to be members of the 2022 class of Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Pathfinders. The...

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In this Upside episode, we explore developing and monetizing intellectual property assets of a portfolio company. How does a new company go about developing a patent portfolio? And why spend the time and effort...

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No Quarter: What Claims Doesn’t Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act Protect Platform Companies Against?

Depending on what you read or who you talk to, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (47 U.S.C. § 230) (CDA) is either a tool of censorship, a shield of Big Tech that...

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7 Tips to Help Financial Advisor Firms Protect Their Customer Lists

Customer relationships are a key asset for companies in the financial advising and wealth management industry. In California, however, the law is making it increasingly difficult to stop departing employees from soliciting customers after...

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Litigation Trends In the Private Equity and Venture Capital Space

In today's Upside episode, we explore fiduciary duty in the venture capital context. Can owners of a venture capital management company act in ways that explicitly disadvantage their business partners? Can they agree to...

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Chambers USA 2022 Recognizes Farella Braun + Martel Lawyers, Practices

Farella Braun + Martel is pleased to announce that Chambers USA has recognized 14 lawyers and 6 practice areas in the legal directory’s 2022 edition. Individual California and Western U.S. Rankings: Sarah Bell &ndash...

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