United Kingdom parliament releases internal Facebook documents


"Like any business, we had many internal conversations about the various ways we could build a sustainable business model for our platform", Facebook said.

"There's a big question on where we get the revenue from", Zuckerberg said in one email.

Facebook has said it does not sell user data and on Wednesday it denied requiring app developers to buy advertising in return for access. The app also sent valuable data on what types of apps people were downloading back to Facebook.

Facebook responded quickly, saying the release was misleading without context and that the documents "are only part of the story".

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.

The report claims that Facebook whitelisted "certain companies" with full access to friends data, despite platform changes in 2014/15.

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Facebook said Wednesday that limited data extensions were given to particular developers and that whitelists of developers allowed to use certain features are commonly used in beta testing.

Friends' data had stoked the growth of many apps because it enabled people to easily connect with Facebook buddies on a new service. "We've prepared reactive PR, and I will let Jana know our decision". 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.

If not selling it, how else did Facebook make use of the data?

"It is not clear that there was any user consent for this, nor how Facebook decided which companies should be whitelisted or not". In some cases, the ability to tap into those data sets was dependent on financial considerations.

"We stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends' data with developers", the company said in a statement.

Why is a British lawmaker going after Facebook like this?

This isn't the first time Facebook has been in hot water for dodgy practises - in fact, it's becoming a recurring theme ever since details of the Cambridge Analytica scandal emerged early this year, but the newly-released emails provide a level of detail that's far more candid than anything previously uncovered.

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

Mr Damian Collins, the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which is investigating Facebook, used Parliament's sergeant-at-arms to obtain the documents last month.

Additionally, Collins stated in his summary of the key issues, "it is clear that increasing revenues from major app developers was one of the key drivers behind the Platform 3.0 changes at Facebook".

This echoes the accusation made by app developer Six4Three, from whom the documents were seized.

In January 2013, Facebook VP Justin Osofsky emailed Zuckerberg about the now-defunct social media app Vine, suggesting that Facebook "shut down their friends API access". "We take seriously our responsibility to protect customer privacy and we do not share individual client information with Facebook or other advertisers". "We blocked a lot of sketchy apps. Pikinis didn't receive an extension, and they went to court".

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