Did Facebook delete Russian bought ads because of a bug?

13 October 2017 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

The Washington Post wrote that Facebook “it has merely corrected a “bug” that allowed [Jonathan] Albright, who is research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, to access information he never should have been able to find in the first place.”  The October 12, 2017 article entitled “Facebook takes down data and thousands of posts, obscuring reach of Russian disinformation” included these comments:

Social media analyst Jonathan Albright got a call from Facebook the day after he published research last week showing that the reach of the Russian disinformation campaign was almost certainly larger than the company had disclosed.

While the company had said 10 million people read Russian-bought ads, Albright had data suggesting that the audience was at least double that — and maybe much more — if ordinary free Facebook posts were measured as well.

But the deletion of the posts and the related data struck Albright as a major loss for the world’s understanding of the Russian campaign

Was it really a bug?

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Authors

Related Services