(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. has turned the tables on a company that it accuses of leaking confidential documents that portray the social networking giant exploiting user data to bolster its bottom line.

A California state judge concluded evidence shows there was “crime or fraud” involved in the disclosure of Facebook records that were sealed in a lawsuit and wound up being publicized by a committee of the U.K. Parliament. Facebook can now seek access to emails from the developer of a now-defunct app for finding photos of friends in bikinis and its lawyers who sued the social network giant in 2015. Those communications would ordinarily be kept private under attorney-client confidentiality rules.

Even as Facebook faces ever-louder complaints that it has done a poor job of safeguarding user data, in this case it’s on the offensive to show that the bikini app maker, Six4Three LLC, plotted to mischaracterize the social network’s business practices through selective leaks of its internal records.

Facebook Faces Bare-All Moment in Bikini Photo-Finder Fallout

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge V. Raymond Swope found Friday that despite a sweeping order barring disclosure of a large swath of evidence in Six4Three’s long-running lawsuit, the firm and its lawyers made a concerted effort to pitch the sensitive information to Parliament and the media.

“It is apparent from the evidence that Six4Three’s counsel was engaged in the ‘heavy lifting’ of analyzing and summarizing Facebook’s confidential information to third parties, and not merely acting in an advisory role to Six4Three,” he wrote.

Attorneys representing Six4Three and its legal team didn’t immediately respond to emails Saturday seeking comment on the ruling.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Blumberg in San Francisco at pblumberg1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Elizabeth Wollman at ewollman@bloomberg.net, Linus Chua, Virginia Van Natta

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