Facebook’s justification for banning third-party researchers is inaccurate: US FTC

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The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has said that Facebook’s justification for banning third-party researchers from the New York University on its platform is ‘inaccurate’.

According to a report in The Washington Post on Thursday, Samuel Levine who is FTC’s acting director for the Bureau of Consumer Protection has complained about the action of researchers to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Had you honoured your commitment to contact us in advance, we would have pointed out that the consent decree does not bar Facebook from creating exceptions for good-faith research in the public interest, – Levine told Facebook in the letter to Zuckerberg.

“While I appreciate that Facebook has now corrected the record, I am disappointed by how your company has conducted itself in this matter,” Levine was quoted as saying.

Facebook banned personal accounts and platform access associated with researchers from New York University for allegedly violating its term of service by scraping user data without permission.

“NYU’s Ad Observatory project studied political ads using unauthorised means to access and collect data from Facebook, in violation of our Terms of Service. We took these actions to stop unauthorised scraping and protect people’s privacy in line with our privacy programme under the FTC Order,” the company had said in a statement earlier this week.

“We disabled the accounts, apps, Pages and platform access associated with NYU’s Ad Observatory Project and its operators after our repeated attempts to bring their research into compliance with our Terms,” Facebook added.

Meanwhile, Firefox browser developer Mozilla also slammed Facebook for terminating the accounts of New York University researchers, saying that the claims made by the social network “simply do not hold water”.

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