Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Facebook Struck Deals Over Data and Burnt Rivals, Say Lawmakers

Facebook Struck Deals Over Data and Burnt Rivals, Say Lawmakers

Damian Collins, a Conservative member of British Parliament, made the documents public on Wednesday after demanding them last month under threat of sanction from Six4Three.

"Bulls & Bears" panel on how court documents revealed that Facebook considered charging companies for personal user data.

Internal Facebook documents, previously seized by Britain, confirm that the tech giant made a habit of sharing user data with other firms without user consent and tried to avoid bad publicity by obfuscating its data vacuuming.

Parliament seized the documents from now defunct app developer Six4Three at the end of November during a trip by the company's founder to London.

The release covers 250 pages including the MPs' summary and exhibits including emails from figures including Mark Zuckerberg and internal Facebook documents.

"We don't feel we have had straight answers from Facebook on these important issues, which is why we are releasing the documents", said Collins in a Twitter post accompanying the published emails.

Facebook's seized files published by MPs

"We stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends' data with developers", the company said in a statement. "Like any business, we had many of internal conversations about the various ways we could build a sustainable business model for our platform".

In October 2012, Zuckerberg sent Sam Lessin, the company's director of product management at the time, an email that he was "getting more on board with locking down some parts of the platform, including friends' data and potentially email addresses for mobile apps". Facebook also took an "aggressive" position when dealing with rival apps, Collins said, by denying them access to data that meant that businesses would fail.

In one email, dated January 23 2013, a Facebook engineer contacted Zuckerberg to say that rival Twitter Inc. had launched its Vine video-sharing tool, which users could connect to Facebook to find their friends there. But the facts are clear: "we've never sold people's data".

In this bombshell dossier, Facebook's staff discuss rolling out an app update which lets users upload call and text information to help the social network recommend friends they might know.

"We've prepared reactive PR", Osofsky wrote, to which Zuckerberg replied, "Yup, go for it".


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