A trove of emails and internal documents released by a British lawmaker on Wednesday illustrate how Facebook rose to dominance years ago by using people’s data as a bargaining chip, undermining the social media giant’s claim that changes to its business practices were motivated by a desire to protect people’s privacy.
The more than 250 pages of documents, which a British parliamentary committee recently obtained as part of a wide-ranging investigation into Facebook, revolve around a decision Facebook made in 2014 and 2015 to cut off developers’ access to posts, photos and other profile information from Facebook users. The internal communications, some of them from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, appear to show Facebook trading access to user data in exchange for advertising buys and other concessions, which would contradict Facebook’s long-standing claim that it doesn’t sell people’s information.
Facebook discussed cashing in on user data, emails suggest
Facebook staff in 2012 discussed selling access to user data to major advertisers, before ultimately deciding to restrict such access two years later, according to a tranche of internal emails released by the UK parliament.