Secret emails show Facebook knew about Cambridge Analytica earlier than they've said, DC AG claims

“The general public itself has little or no interest in this Document that could warrant exposing Facebook to the risks that would inevitably accompany disclosure.” — Facebook

"Private emails could contradict Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's sworn testimony about when Facebook learned about the Cambridge Analytica data breach," hacker-turned-reporter Kevin Poulsen writes at the Daily Beast, with Kelly Weill.

The Beast reports late Friday that Facebook and the attorney general of Washington, D.C. "are sparring over an internal email chain that allegedly shows Facebook employees discussing Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal in September 2015."

That would have been a few months before Facebook told lawmakers–and the rest of America– it learned that Cambridge Analytica, the dirty political data consulting firm founded by Trump backers, was grabbing information for millions of Facebook users without their knowledge or consent.

From the Daily Beast report:

Facebook and the attorney general are in court Friday to argue whether those emails can be viewed by the public. If unsealed, their contents might contradict sworn testimony Zuckerberg made before Congress last year. It's part of a lawsuit filed by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, accusing Facebook of failing to protect user data.

Facebook claims it learned about Cambridge Analytica's dealings at the same time as the public, in December 2015. That's when the Guardian reported that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential campaign was using psychological profiles compiled from tens of millions of unwitting Facebook users' personal information.

The data was mined by former psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan using a personality quiz. Kogan later sold the data to Cambridge Analytica, who hired him as a contractor in 2014.

More from the reporters and other journalists and observers on Twitter below.