Facebook allowed some companies to maintain "full access" to users' friends data even after announcing changes to its platform in 2014/2015 to limit what developers' could see.
On Wednesday, a British parliamentary committee made public numerous damaging internal emails and documents showing that the company allowed "special access" to users' data to partner companies like Lyft and Netflix while denying access to competitors such as Vine.
Internal emails at Facebook Inc., including those involving Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, were published online by a committee of United Kingdom lawmakers investigating social media's role in the spread of fake news.
Six4Three is now attempting to enter these documents as evidence in its U.S. lawsuit with Facebook.
'Yup, go for it, ' chief executive Mr Zuckerberg is said to have responded. "But the facts are clear: We've never sold people's data". This proved highly controversial when revealed in press accounts and by individuals posting on Twitter after receiving data Facebook had collected on them; Facebook insisted it had obtained permission for the phone log and text massage collection, but some users and journalists said it had not.
Not all of the documents seized by the committee investigating fake news have been published.
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Facebook had objected to their release. The documents outline various discussion within the company regarding monetizing user data particularly surrounding the 3.0 platform changes in 2015.
In 2015, rising star, Stanford University graduate, victor of the 13th season of "Survivor", and Facebook executive Yul Kwon was profiled by the news outlet Fusion, which described him as "the guy standing between Facebook and its next privacy disaster", guiding the company's engineers through the dicey territory of personal data collection. "Sometimes the best way to enable people to share something is to have a developer build a special goal app or network for that type of content and to make that app social by having Facebook plug into it".
The documents contain details of how Facebook specifically dealt with third party app makers. "However, that may be good for the world but it's not good for us unless people also share back to Facebook and that content increases the value of our network". He'd obtained the documents after compelling the founder of US software company Six4Three to hand them over during a business trip to London.
Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Wednesday that the company could have prevented the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal had it cracked down on app developers a year earlier in 2014.
In a later statement emailed to Fast Company, the company cautioned that some of the documents, which were originally turned over in a California lawsuit, could be misleading and don't necessarily reflect actual company practices. "But instead of requiring developers to buy advertising - the option discussed in these cherry picked emails - we ultimately settled on a model where developers did not need to purchase advertising to access [data] and we continued to provide the developer platform for free".
Though the direct payments never came to pass, the point is that Facebook knew that its users were valuable to other companies, and believed that it should receive equal value for making them available. Facebook planned to make it as hard as possible for users to know that this was happening.