Facebook disputes WSJ report about Mark Zuckerberg and ‘problematic privacy practices’

Facebook pushed back Wednesday afternoon on a Wall Street Journal report that said the company had “uncovered emails” that could show CEO Mark Zuckerberg “knew of problematic privacy practices” at the company.

The report comes as both Silicon Valley and Washington wait for a potential settlement between Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission over alleged privacy violations. Facebook has set aside billions of dollars in anticipation of such a settlement.

Facebook did not act aggressively enough to address issues when it discovered a third-party app was accessing Facebook users’ information regardless of their privacy settings, a source told The Journal.

The Journal’s source said Zuckerberg raised the potential issues with the app in an email with colleagues, and was thus aware there was a problem. The emails came after a prior consent decree between the FTC and Facebook which required Facebook to have a “comprehensive privacy program” and to get the “express consent” of users before sharing their data.

The Journal reported that it had not seen the emails, but had spoken to people who described their contents to the paper. The WSJ said it was unable to learn if the emails showed that Facebook had violated terms of the consent decree.

Responding to the story, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business, “At no point did Mark or any other Facebook employee knowingly violate the company’s obligations under the FTC consent order nor do any emails exist that indicate they did.”

“We have fully cooperated with the FTC’s investigation to date and provided tens of thousands of documents, emails and files,” the spokesperson added.