Facebook sues data-mining quiz company


Two Ukrainian hackers known as Gleb Sulchevsky and Andrey Gorbachov are facing trial for injecting advertisements into Facebook News Feed with quizzes. Among the data stole were a user's name, age range, and profile picture, along with their friends' list.

On Friday, March 8 the social media company Facebook, filed the lawsuit and alleged that the Kiev-based entrepreneurs violated Californian and federal anti-hacking laws. That allowed the developers to scrape information from a user's page as well as those of any friends to whom they were connected on the social networking site.

As pointed out in a report by The Verge, this the second instance in two weeks where Facebook has filed such a lawsuit.

On how these men could access user's accounts, the complaint stated that they trickily caused the victims to install browser extensions infected with malware. The quizzes often featured such headlines as: "What kind of dog are you according to your zodiac sign?", according to CNN.

In the complaint, the company has claimed that in total, both of these accused used Facebook users to use around 63 thousand browsers and damaged Facebook 75 thousand pounds.

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It's been a roller coaster year for Facebook investors.

Whether Facebook can expect any success from the suit is up in the air, given it can't compel Gorbachov or Sluchevsky to come to the USA to face trial. That makes this case substantially different from the better-known Cambridge Analytica scandal, which hinged entirely on Facebook giving developers broad access to data.

Facebook is accusing Sluchevsky and Gorbachov of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by accessing Facebook data without authorization, as well as fraud and breach of contract for misrepresenting themselves as legitimate Facebook developers. Cybersecurity experts have shrugged off that number, claiming only 63,000 browser installs were recorded.

A pair of Ukrainian hackers used seemingly innocuous online quizzes and surveys, with titles like "What does your eye color say about you?", to gain access to private Facebook user data and to target users with "unauthorized" advertisements, the social media company says. The defendant may not face serious consequences, but it will give Facebook the leverage to defend itself.