Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Facebook's secret documents seized by Parliament are published by MPs

Credit Bloomberg Credit Bloomberg
Ellis Copeland | 05 December, 2018, 22:27

Internal emails at Facebook Inc., including those involving Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, were published online by a committee of United Kingdom lawmakers investigating social media's role in the spread of fake news.

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.

A California court had ordered that the emails be kept secret as part of the ongoing lawsuit against the social network, but Mr Kramer claims he was given no choice when confronted at his London hotel room by Parliament's Serjeant-at-Arms and threatened with imprisonment.

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".

The committee chair, Damian Collins MP, tweeted: "We don't feel we have had straight answers from Facebook. which is why we're releasing the documents".

According to a just-published Washington Post report, Facebook is being accused of giving "select companies preferential access to valuable user data", possibly without the users' consent.

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"As we've said many times, Six4Three - creators of the Pikinis app - cherrypicked these documents from years ago as part of a lawsuit to force Facebook to share information on friends of the app's users".

Facebook has been keen to keep the documents out of the public realm - they are also now held under seal by a court in California - but last week Collins said Parliament would publish them if it felt it was in the public interest to do so. "Like any business, we had many of internal conversations about the various ways we could build a sustainable business model for our platform". Facebook is being sued by an app developer.

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.

"Yup, go for it", Zuckerberg responded.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but has disputed such allegations in the past.

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