Leaked docs show Facebook weaponized user data against competitors, with little regard for...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 17
In the past, Facebook executives including CEO Mark Zuckerberg regularly wielded user data as a tool to reward partners and smash rivals, according to some 4,000 pages of leaked emails, messages, and other documents spanning from 2011 to 2015.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg


Amazon for instance got extended data access because it was not only spending money on ads but partnering with Facebook on the launch of its ill-fated Fire Phone, NBC News reported. Conversely, executives discussed cutting off data for a rival messaging app, MessageMe.

The company moreover discussed ways of making third-party apps pay for access to user data, among them direct payment, ad spending, or reciprocal data sharing. The company ultimately decided against direct sales, but did choose to hand data to developers considered personal friends of Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, or who spent money on Facebook and shared their own data.

Responding to NBC, Facebook denied any preferential treatment, but didn't question the authenticity of the leaked documents, which may be the same ones the U.K. Parliament obtained in late 2018 as part of an investigation.

Either way they're related to a California court case between Facebook and a startup called Six4Three, which sued Facebook in 2015 after the latter announced plans to cut off some forms of user data. A controversial Six4Three app, "Pikinis," depended on that data to find photos of friends in swimwear.

Facebook further insists that the documents were "cherry-picked" by Six4Three and are misleading.

"The set of documents, by design, tells only one side of the story and omits important context," a statement reads. "We still stand by the platform changes we made in 2014/2015 to prevent people from sharing their friends' information with developers like the creators of Pikinis. The documents were selectively leaked as part of what the court found was evidence of a crime or fraud to publish some, but not all, of the internal discussions at Facebook at the time of our platform changes. But the facts are clear: we've never sold people's data."

Following NBC's questioning, Facebook is now looking to depose Six4Three's founders, arguing that they leaked the documents to a "national broadcast network."

While the company publicly advertised its platform changes as being motivated by privacy, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, that isn't borne out in the leaked documents, which only mention privacy as a PR strategy for softening the impact of the developer data cutoff. Six4Three was never the subject of public complaints or warnings from Facebook.

Though he has since been forced to acknowledge problems, at one point Zuckerberg said that he was "generally skeptical" about there being much "data leak strategic risk" from sharing partnerships. Facebook eventually suffered multiple data breaches, the latest being records exposed on Amazon servers.

In fact a chatlog shows that private communications by Zuckerberg could have potentially leaked to a third-party app, except that the issue was caught quickly. One Facebook designer told her colleagues that she'd discovered the company was allowing photos to be transferred to third parties even when a user had set image privacy to "only me."

Facebook is facing multiple investigations over its data handling. The most significant, related to Cambridge Analytica, could see the U.S. Federal Trade Commission levy a fine worth billions of dollars.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    Queue some monster lawsuits. Enough to take Facebook down(?).
    longpathmagman1979StrangeDaysMetriacanthosaurusmac_dogmonstrositywatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 24

    OK, can the drama get any worse. We are literally letting this company and the CEO act like dictators. 

    edited April 16 rotateleftbytemagman1979StrangeDaysMetriacanthosaurusmonstrositywatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 24
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 812member
    I'm a big "faceless" tech company, trust me! Our government has got to get between them and our privacy because when billions of dollars are involved morality, respect for individuals and the law are disregarded. 
    magman1979StrangeDaysmonstrosity
  • Reply 4 of 24
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 812member
    Queue some monster lawsuits. Enough to take Facebook down(?).
    only it's dumb users can take Facebook down so looks like it will keep going. 
    cornchip
  • Reply 5 of 24
    Curious, does anyone really believe that the same thing has never happened at Google? With the amount of data they have on people and all the lawsuits they constantly face (sort of like Apple), that they have never leveraged this data to gain any advantage?
    magman1979chasmlostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 24
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 618member
    Queue some monster lawsuits. Enough to take Facebook down(?).
    We can only hope.
    But the facts are clear: we've never sold people's data.
    What utter and absolute B***S***. Their BUSINESS is based on them selling user data.
    longpathmagman1979fotoformatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 24
    Face book is Evil and needs to be sued out of existance.
    Not a FB user and never have been and never will be.
    Zuck needs to serve at least 15 years hard time but he won't. He probably won't even get a slap on the wrist.
    That's life. One rule for the rich and all that.
    DanManTXGG1cornchipmonstrosityDAalsethwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 24
    GG1GG1 Posts: 252member
    Perfect time for Apple to swoop in with a similar service with privacy being the key: no selling of user data, no advertisements, free to anyone (but offer perq's for Apple users), no pushing of "news" stories or other cruft, just keep it simple.

    Not a FB user but I see the benefits of an online service connecting families spread all over the world.

    FB would be hurting in no time. Kill it with fire.
    edited April 16 chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 24
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,617member
    Whatever.

    So it's the same tactics that companies like Google used prior to FB being as big as it is.  This is a non-event.
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 10 of 24
    iOS_Guy80iOS_Guy80 Posts: 151member
    Never have used it, never will. Text, email, shared albums, is my social media.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 24
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,593member
    Curious, does anyone really believe that the same thing has never happened at Google? With the amount of data they have on people and all the lawsuits they constantly face (sort of like Apple), that they have never leveraged this data to gain any advantage?
    Ah, didn't take too many posts for some whataboutism to creep in.  Typical stuff.  Perhaps you're a Facebook shareholder, reason enough to deflect to some other company instead I suppose.
    edited April 16
  • Reply 12 of 24
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,364member
    sflocal said:
    Whatever.

    So it's the same tactics that companies like Google used prior to FB being as big as it is.  This is a non-event.
    Isn’t that a pity?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 24
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,652member
    iOS_Guy80 said:
    Never have used it, never will. 
    Yep, same here.

    I always had a bad feeling about it all the way from the start. I remember some years ago when meeting some old friends and they were all exchanging FB account addresses, and when somebody asked me for mine, as if it was expected that everybody had an account, I said that FB was garbage and I will never have a FB account, and a few of them looked at me like I was crazy. I will have gotten the last laugh, for sure.

    I also thought that the movie made about it was kind of crap and didn't like that either, even though a lot claim to have liked it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 24
    spice-boy said:
    I'm a big "faceless" tech company, trust me! Our government has got to get between them and our privacy because when billions of dollars are involved morality, respect for individuals and the law are disregarded. 
    Why does "our government" have to always be the answer? Can't people who are not stupid...just not use Facebook, and people who are too stupid to know better deal with the consequences?
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 24
    Keep as much of your data off social media platforms and help your non-techy friends and family to do the same. Facebook is great for businesses who want to target a lot of people but it's mostly crap, imo. Good on those of you who never use it. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 24
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,851member
    Face book is Evil and needs to be sued out of existance.
    Not a FB user and never have been and never will be.
    Zuck needs to serve at least 15 years hard time but he won't. He probably won't even get a slap on the wrist.
    That's life. One rule for the rich and all that.
    Which laws did he break? 
  • Reply 17 of 24
    Is facebook losing any popularity with all of these issues?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 24
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 681member
    This is what happens when you have children running the company. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 24
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,531member
    This is the classic "rich people think the laws don't apply to them" thinking, but of course this has turned out to be largely true ... especially since around 1980 or so, and accelerating rapidly in the past decade. The college cheating scandal is another perfect example of this.
    gatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 24
    ...of image tagging (FB, Photos) and iOS facial recognition - potential for (ab)use: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlO2gcs1YvM
    edited April 16
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