Sensitive internal Facebook documents published by UK Parliament


Committee chair Damian Collins said it was not clear from the private exchanges between Facebook and app developers whether users were aware that their friends list and other private information was being used.

As for the DCMS's assertions regarding how the company's "reciprocity" provision and its Onavo VPN app dealt with user data, Facebook points out that users "had the choice" as to whether or not they would opt in and share their data. The idea of tying access to this data to the developer's relationship with Facebook is a recurring feature throughout the documents.

The company also pushed back on this point, characterizing the emails as "cherrypicked" and adding: "Instead of requiring developers to buy advertising - we ultimately settled on a model where developers did not need to purchase advertising to access APIs and we continued to provide the developer platform for free". It includes emails between Mark Zuckerberg and his staff.

The company also apparently collected data about app use by phone users - apparently without their knowledge - to determine who its biggest rivals were and which companies it should aim to acquire.

The 223 pages of communication from 2012 to 2015 between high-level Facebook employees, including founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, show how the social media company debated generating revenue by selling access to data, tracked and fended off rivals and braced for potential blowback as it moved to capture more user data.

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The documents show an exchange between Zuckerberg and senior executive Justin Osofsky in 2013, in which they made a decision to stop giving friends' data access to Vine on the day that social media rival Twitter launched the video-sharing service.

"Unless anyone raises objections, we will shut down their friends API access today".

"Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy whose vice president was Republican strategist Steve Bannon, gained access to data on 87 million users in ways that Facebook has said was improper but resembled a common practice at the time among app developers", the Post reports. "The set of documents, by design, tells only one side of the story and omits important context".

Facebook had objected to their release.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but has disputed such allegations in the past. "I hope that our committee investigation can stand up for them".