Documents show Facebook gave preferential access to data to certain companies

Documents show Facebook gave preferential access to data to certain companies

The documents also suggest that Facebook collected user data without those users' knowledge.

The newly released e-mails give an unprecedented look into Zuckerberg's personal feelings about how the company would make some of its most crucial business decisions between 2012 and 2016 regarding allowing outside companies to build on top of its platform. "Key points: 1/ Find out what other apps like Refresh are out that we don't want to share data with and figure out if they spend on [advertising]", he wrote on September 18, 2013, to Ime Archibong, Facebook's director of product partnerships.

"For most developers, we also limited their ability to request a list of who someone's friends were, unless those friends were also using the developer's app". The app also sent valuable data on what types of apps people were downloading back to Facebook.

In response, Facebook has said that the documents had been presented in a "very misleading manner" and required additional context.

Here are the key details to emerge from the release of the e-mails.

E-mails also show that Facebook was hungry for more data and that user privacy, at least at the time, was an impediment to its goals of growth and engagement.

The e-mails, from between 2012 and 2016, show disparate and incomplete internal communications about how Facebook thought about working with developers and building its platform.

Facebook's seized files published by MPs

"Facebook have clearly entered into whitelisting agreements with certain companies, which meant that after the platform changes in 2014/15 they maintained full access to friends data", the committee said in a statement preceding the emails. In 2013, after Twitter released the video app Vine, Facebook shut off the access to its Facebook friends data.

"Unless anyone raises objections, we will shut down their friends API access today. We've prepared reactive PR". "To be clear, that's different from selling people's data". "We stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends' data with developers". In the e-mails, it discussed building what would become its ad network, and whether it would force developers to use the ad network to generate money that way. Facebook denies all allegations made by the committee.

DCMS Committee chairman Damian Collins wrote in the documents: 'It is not clear that there was any user consent for this, nor how Facebook decided which companies should be whitelisted or not'. The social network itself received data about how people were using third party apps in return.

The emails could increase scrutiny around whether Facebook is a monopoly - one of Facebook's biggest current political risks.

Why is a British lawmaker going after Facebook like this?

The idea of tying access to this data to the developer's relationship with Facebook is a recurring feature throughout the documents.

How did Collins get these emails?

These were sealed by the courts, but United Kingdom authorities seized them from the plaintiff in that lawsuit while he was in London as part of their investigation into Facebook's practices and handling of user data.

Facebook touted itself as championing privacy four years ago when it chose to restrict outsider developers' access to data about its users' friends. "We take seriously our responsibility to protect customer privacy and we do not share individual client information with Facebook or other advertisers". "I think we leak info to developers, but I just can't think if any instances where that data has leaked from developer to developer and caused a real issue for us", he wrote in one of the emails.


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