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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may be humbled by Six4Three’s Pikinis app



Mark Zuckerberg Sun Valley looking sad or pensive
CEO Mark Zuckerberg.


  • British lawmakers have seized and may publish
    potentially explosive documents that could shed light on
    approach to user privacy.
  • The documents risk reopening barely healed wounds over
    , a scandal that easily ranks among the worst in
    Facebook’s history.
  • Facebook
    CEO Mark Zuckerberg
    could be personally implicated in the
    paper trail, which all stems from an app that lets you see your
    friends in their swimwear.
  • Here’s how Zuckerberg could be humbled by a creepy
    bikini app.

Just when you thought that the heat had gone from Facebook’s
Cambridge Analytica scandal, a fire has been lit under the story
again by a group of British lawmakers who have been relentless in
their pursuit of answers.

MP Damian Collins had hit a brick wall with countless requests to
drag Mark
in front of his parliamentary Digital, Culture,
Media and Sport Committee to answer questions over the data

Now Collins, whose committee is holding an inquiry into fake
news, has laid his hands on evidence that might be impossible for
the Facebook CEO to ignore — and it all stems from an app that
lets you see your friends in their swimwear.

Here’s the story of how Zuckerberg could be humbled by a creepy
bikini app:

Facebook sued bikini app developer

Facebook has been involved in a three-year legal battle with a
software company called Six4Three.

Among a litany of complaints, Six4Three has accused Facebook of
killing an app it created, when in 2015, the social network made
big changes to its privacy policy, which stopped app developers
from accessing friend data.

The app in question was called Pikinis. It allowed users to
surface images of their male or female Facebook friends in
bikinis or bathing suits using photo-scanning technology.

Pikinis received a smattering of press attention in 2013.
HuffPo called it “creepy” and
Jezebel said it was a reason to
“lock up those privacy settings.”
Pikinis never made it out
of beta, however, and was eventually shut down in 2015.

A promotional video for the app is still is available on YouTube.
It features a man at a coffee shop bar looking at women who
magically shed their clothes at the touch of his phone.

Six4Three obtains potentially explosive evidence

As part of the protracted legal battle, Pikinis creator Six4Three
obtained documents from Facebook through discovery, a legal
process in which one party to a lawsuit can obtain evidence from
the other, according to CNN.

The papers could contain explosive revelations about Facebook’s
privacy policy. The Observer speculated that
they may feature evidence that Facebook knowingly created an
environment which enabled Cambridge Analytica to collect the data
of 87 million users.

CNN added that the documents could include correspondence between
Zuckerberg and other company executives.

British lawmakers seize the documents

The San Mateo Superior Court in California, US, has ordered that
the documents remain under seal — even after CNN and The Guardian
filed a motion in June to make them public.

But they have now been seized by British MP Damian Collins after
he invoked an arcane piece of UK parliamentary privilege.

Collins wrote to Six4Three founder Ted Kramer last Monday to
request the papers. Kramer happened to be in the UK on business,
according to CNN, and Collins’ letter was sent to his hotel in
central London.

Damian Collins

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images
for Foundation For Sports Integrity

After refusing to hand over the evidence, Kramer was then
escorted to parliament, where he was told he could face a fine or
imprisonment if he failed to produce the documents, The Observer

The newspaper added this process was overseen by a serjeant at
arms, an official responsible for security and keeping order
within the House of Commons.

Some have pointed out that the whole affair looks somewhat
coordinated. NBC’s tech investigations editor
Olivia Solon speculated Kramer was complicit
because his
lawyers are not “decrying jurisdictional overreach.”

Indeed, Kramer has himself said the documents should be
published. He told CNN: “I think it’s really important to
understand that they [Facebook] have fought tooth and nail to
prevent this evidence from becoming public which we believe the
world should see.”

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee declined to

Will the documents be published?

Despite serious protestations from Facebook, it appears that
Collins is leaning towards publication. In an email to Facebook public
policy chief Richard Allan on Sunday evening
, he said there
is a “high level of public interest” in making them public.

Allan has written to Collins to say that Six4Three’s lawsuit is
“entirely without merit” and the documents obtained by the
parliamentary committee are under seal by court order.

Richard Allan
Facebook’s Richard Allan.

A Facebook spokeswoman added: “Facebook has never traded Facebook
data for anything and we’ve always made clear that developer
access is subject to both our policies and what info people
choose to share.”

Either way, matters will come to a head on Tuesday when Allan is
grilled by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee during
a public hearing.

How could Zuckerberg be implicated?

It is hard to say exactly how Zuckerberg will be implicated, if
at all, in the Six4Three case.

At the very least, this week will reopen barely healed wounds
over Cambridge Analytica, a scandal that easily ranks among the
worst in Facebook’s history.

The mere fact that these documents are now known about has
sparked a fresh round of uncomfortable questions about Facebook’s
approach to privacy.

If they are published and contain evidence of a company that
played fast and loose with user data, Facebook’s reputation will
suffer more damage and its regulatory risk will increase. If they
provide a paper trail that leads directly back to Zuckerberg, the
34-year-old CEO will find himself at the center of a scandal.

Zuckerberg has endured the most difficult year of his tenure, in
which he has been battered by a series of scandals over issues
including fake news, data breaches, crisis mismanagement,
election interference, and inappropriate content.

The timing could not be worse.

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