Facebook’s decision to block access to some academics who study political advertising and false information has been criticized by British and American politicians.
Congressman Damian Collins accused Facebook of shutting down legal research to protect its own interests.
The chairmen of the Senate committee Ron Wyden and Mark Warner also made speeches.
Facebook accused researchers of the New York University Cyber Security Democracy Team of collecting user data without consent.
On Tuesday, the social network disabled:
On Tuesday, the social network disabled their accounts and blocked access to the platform, saying that the team’s Ad Observer browser extension violated its policies.
The team’s project requires people to install the extension, and then they can share information about the Facebook ads they see with researchers.
The Democratic Cybersecurity Project includes research on misleading political advertisements, right-wing misinformation, and false claims about vaccines and Covid-19.
Mike Clark said in a blog:
But Facebook’s director of product management Mike Clark said in a blog that research should not be at the expense of people’s privacy and that they violated the company’s terms of service.
“Researchers collect data by creating a browser extension that is programmed to evade our detection system and grab user names, advertisements, user profile links and other data. some of them are on the platform Not publicly visible.”
He said that: The company has been trying to provide researchers with the access rights they requested in a “privacy-protected way” for months.
According to Facebook:
The browser extension collected information about each ad publisher without their consent, including at least their first and last name, username, Facebook ID, and a link to their profile photo. Scholars insist that they only collect data on advertising. After Facebook’s decision, they attracted influential political support.
The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Mr. Wyden, accused Facebook of hypocrisy and used privacy as an “excuse to crack down on researchers who exposed its problems.”
Mr. Warner, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, called the action “deeply worrying.” Mr. Collins, the former chairman of the Special Committee on Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports, responsible for investigating the Cambridge Analytica scandal, accused Facebook of “protecting its own interests” rather than allowing an independent review of its advertising tools.
“It is ridiculous to say that it is to protect user data-this academic project does not crawl user data, it allows users to opt in and voluntarily donate information about the ads they see on Facebook,” he wrote.
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