The attorney general for the District of Columbia has got hold of some internal documents including Facebook's emails. These internal emails clearly show that the social networking giant Facebook was already aware of Cambridge Analytica's data harvesting practices much sooner than what its founder Mark Zuckerberg publicly declared. The company is now busy in arguing to the court for keeping the internal emails under seal.

The social networking giant is saying that Cambridge Analytica's data practices are unrelated to the significant breach that took place last year for which it faced quite a severe backlash, Gizmodo reported.

Cambridge Analytica scandal

This week, a court filing took place in which the district's attorneys said that they had internal emails which clearly shows that some of the Facebook's employees located in Washington played a substantial role in talking about how some third-party apps inappropriately sold its customers data to Cambridge Analytica and various other firms.

Such data selling practices are gross violations of Facebook's policy.

The filing also shows that a Facebook employee had already warned the company in September 2015 regarding Cambridge Analytica's shady data practices. This warning came around three months before the Guardian broke the story about how Cambridge Analytica bought the data of millions of Facebook users without any consent. Facebook's founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg said in an official statement last year that the company first got to know about Cambridge Analytica's shady practices involving its customers' data in December 2015 after the Guardian reported on it.

Facebook is reportedly claiming that the conversations which can be viewed in the emails regarding Cambridge Analytica are taken out of context. The technology giant also said the email conversations are not related in any way to the data the firm managed to obtain illicitly from a researcher at Cambridge University, Aleksandr Kogan.

Kogan got hold of the data primarily by a quiz that he conducted on the platform.

Almost 300,000 users installed this quiz, which gave Kogan the ability to collect data on more than 50 million Facebook users. The company has released an official statement saying that in September 2015, some of its employees became aware that Cambridge Analytica was scrapping its users' data. At that time, the social networking giant did nothing about it because this type of stuff is common for internet organizations.

The company also said in the statement, that when it learned about the fact that Kogan sold the data to Cambridge Analytica in December 2015, it immediately took some serious action on the matter.

The ongoing lawsuit in Washington

Facebook is currently being sued in Washington D.C. for its misleading privacy policies during the 2016 elections which were in gross violation of the capital's Consumer Protection Procedures Act, as described by the attorney general Karl A. Racine.

The district's attorneys are saying that almost half of the D.C. residents data was sold in the unethical Facebook data scandal. A motion was filed by the company earlier this week in the superior court of DC to prevent these internal emails from being shown in public.

The proposal has been registered on the basis that the district's complaint against the tech giant does not consist of any personal jurisdiction. The firm is also arguing to the court that the document itself includes a lot of sensitive business details. The district's attorneys, on the other hand, state that the report does not contain any confidential information. According to them, these details are already known by the public. The attorneys have also said the company is only concerned about its overall reputation.

The attorneys for the district also allege that the Facebook employees who were involved with several of the presidential campaigns during the 2016 elections already knew or should have known that Cambridge Analytica was utilizing Facebook users data. The presidential campaign for Senator Ted Cruz funded the development of Cambridge Analytica's campaign software, Ripon, by paying them a whopping $5.8 million.

Donald's Trump campaign also supported the firm with an additional $5 million. Cambridge Analytica partnered with a British based data firm, AggregateIQ to outsource the development of its software, Gizmodo reported. Hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer who is also Cambridge Analytica's principal investor contributed $10 million and $15.5 million towards Ted Cruz and Donald Trump's presidential campaigns, respectively.

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