Facebook leveraged user data as bargaining chip, considered selling to allies

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leveraged user data as a bargaining chip to fend off competitors and considered selling access to friendly companies, giving privacy short shrift along the way.

Even as he was promising to make privacy a priority, a pledge he renewed in the face of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a string of violations, 4,000 pages of leaked documents from 2011-2015 show that the Facebook founder was bent on building a powerhouse social media that had a firm control over user data, according to a report from NBC News. 

Facebook took issue with the veracity of picture painted by documents leaked to British journalist Duncan Campbell - which included emails, webchats, presentations and meeting summaries, dismissing them as selective and not reflective of the company’s current posture on data sharing and privacy practices.

“As we’ve said many times, Six4Three — creators of the Pikinis app — cherry picked these documents from years ago as part of a lawsuit to force Facebook to share information on friends of the app's users,” NBC cited Paul Grewal, vice president and deputy general counsel at Facebook, as saying in a statement. “The set of documents, by design, tells only one side of the story and omits important context.”

About 400 of the documents already had been revealed in earlier reports.

Grewal pointed to platform changes the company made in 2014 and 2015 “to prevent people from sharing their friends' information with developers like” Pikinis’ creators. 

“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,” he said. “But the facts are clear: we've never sold people’s data.”

Get daily email updates

SC Media's daily must-read of the most current and pressing daily news

By clicking the Subscribe button below, you agree to SC Media Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.