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Facebook didn't read "terms and conditions" of developers on its platform

Facebook CTO testifies
Facebook CTO didn't know about purging millions of fake accounts 07:38

Facebook's CEO has said he doesn't expect the typical user to read the company's terms and conditions.

It seems that Facebook doesn't either, according to testimony in the U.K. from the company's chief technology officer.

Mike Schroepfer, the CTO, was answering questions from a member of Parliament, who asked whether Facebook read the terms and conditions for GSR, the app developer that later sold information on 87 million Facebook users to Cambridge Analytica.

"We require that people have a terms and conditions, and we have an automated check to make sure they're there," Schroepfer said. "We did not, we do not read all of the terms and conditions at the time."

"So you didn't read their terms and conditions?" asked the member of Parliament, Jo Stevens.


Schroepfer explained that Facebook no longer allows developers the level of access to data that GSR enjoyed. Developers who want to see large amounts of data have to ask Facebook for permission and go through a review -- a change that took place in 2014. Stevens pressed him on whether Facebook read any terms and conditions of developers who put apps on the platform prior to 2014.

"I can't say we never read them; I think it wasn't a requirement that we read them," he answered.

Previously, Schroepfer told another lawmaker that Facebook users couldn't opt out of all political advertising, despite having what the company calls a large amount of control over what ads they see.

"There isn't an opt-out for political advertising," he said. "You can remove all the interests, if you want, and leave basic information: location, age, gender. In that case, if an advertiser said, 'I would like to reach all the folks in the United Kingdom,' regardless of [the type of ad], you would be a candidate for that ad," unless you've chosen not to receive ads from that advertiser.

"That's a pretty weak tool to stop people getting messages they didn't want," the MP shot back.

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