Internal Facebook Emails Show How Company Burnt Rivals, Struck Deals Over Data

Internal docs show Facebook absolutely loves your data

The documents - which includes internal emails sent by senior executives - were obtained from the chief of a software firm that is suing the tech giant.

Collins has been among leaders of a British inquiry into fake news on social media, one of the many issues that has brought Facebook into the crosshairs of governments in several countries.

The emails feature in a case being heard in a California court filed against the giant by the now-defunct United States app developer Six4Three.

Six4Three's founder, Ted Kramer, had obtained them as part of a legal discovery process in a USA lawsuit against Facebook that his company has brought against the social network in California.

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.

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About 250 pages have been published, some of which are marked "highly confidential".

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

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".

Indeed, Facebook appeared to view access to user data as so valuable that CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally approved a decision to restrict a rival social networking platform from accessing it, according to internal emails.

In one email, dated February 4, 2015, a Facebook engineer said a feature of the Android Facebook app that would "continually upload" a user's call and SMS history would be a "high-risk thing to do from a PR perspective".

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Collins also alleged that Facebook took aggressive positions against competitor apps by denying them access to any user data.

But the emails suggest that Facebook followed a set policy of selling the information to a select group of major app developers even after the platform changes were fully deployed in 2015.

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

Facebook is accused of using this data to assess "not just how many people had downloaded apps, but how often they used them".

This story is developing.

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