Documents Show Facebook Using User Data as Leverage

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It's suing Facebook over a change to the social network's privacy policies in 2015 that led Six4Three to shut down its app, Pikinis.

A cache of internal Facebook documents released by a United Kingdom member of Parliament show how CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives wrestled with how to monetize their valuable user data while still encouraging third-party apps to post user activity on Facebook.

As part of the UK Parliament's investigation into Facebook, privacy, and disinformation, the documents, which date from 2012 to 2015, include select emails sent to representatives from Badoo, Airbnb, Netflix, and Lyft in which a Facebook executive tells someone from that company that they've been given access to certain APIs.

"The idea of linking access to friends data to the financial value of the developers relationship with Facebook is a recurring feature of the documents".

Facebook has denied any wrongdoing, saying: "As we've said many times, the documents Six4Three gathered for their baseless case are only part of the story and are presented in a way that is very misleading without additional context."We stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends" data with developers".

The document, part of a larger 250-page parliamentary trove, shows what appears to be a copied-and-pasted recap of an internal chat conversation between various Facebook staffers and Kwon, who was then the company's deputy chief privacy officer and is now working as a product management director, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Facebook used data provided by the Israeli analytics firm Onavo to determine which other mobile apps were being downloaded and used by the public. "However, for folks like WeChat, we need to enforce a lot sooner".

The company's critics said the new revelations reinforced their concerns over what users actually know about how Facebook treats their data. "Based on their initial testing, it seems that this would allow us to upgrade users without subjecting them to an Android permissions dialogue at all", Yul Kwon, a Facebook developer, wrote.

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In yet another email, Zuckerberg personally approved Facebook cutting off Twitter-owned video service Vine from accessing certain friend data. "It is not clear that there was any user consent for this nor how Facebook decided which companies should be whitelisted or not", Mr. Collins said. The engineer suggested shutting down Vine's access to the friends feature, to which Zuckerberg replied, "Yup, go for it".

The UK parliament's fake news inquiry has published a cache of seized 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. The materials had been under seal in the United States as part of a lawsuit in California with an app developer.

Facebook says that the documents may paint a selective picture of the company's actions.

For instance, in 2013, the Royal Bank of Canada wanted to launch a new payments app, which would get more people signed up if the bank could tap into friends' lists on Facebook.

In one e-mail exchange, employees discussed avoiding a potential public backlash about an update to its Android app that would log calls made by people on their phones.

"However, that may be good for the world", Zuckerberg added", but it's not good for us unless people also share back to Facebook and that content increases the value of our social network".