Facebook gave Netflix and Airbnb preferential data access to data, documents reveal

Facebook's seized files published by MPs

Facebook Inc let some companies, including Netflix and Airbnb, access users' lists of friends after it cut off that data for most other apps around 2015, according to documents released on Wednesday by a British lawmaker investigating fake news and social media.

The documents released Wednesday contained several emails from Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg discussing at length how to generate more revenue from app developers in return for data access.

In 2015, Facebook changed its developer API settings in order to stop developers from seeing data from friends of users who had downloaded their apps.

"We're trying to enable people to share everything they want and to do it on Facebook", Zuckerberg wrote to colleagues in 2012 as Facebook was working on the third-generation of its developer platform.

In terms of suffocating rivals, Mr Collins wrote: "The files show evidence of Facebook taking aggressive positions against apps, with the effect that denying them access to data led to the failure of that business".

"Yup, go for it", Zuckerberg responded.

Facebook knew collecting call records and text message history was sensitive, but did it anyway, according to leaked emails. Facebook's platform, he said, "takes a user and turns them into a more engaged user through adding real identity and social connections to them". The defunct app developer obtained them as part of its ongoing lawsuit in California state court alleging that Facebook violated promises to developers.

Facebook's seized files published by MPs

Don't forget: It's all about apps hosted on Facebook's platform and their access to friends' data, an especially important topic in the light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year.

The documents shine a spotlight on Facebook's behaviour from roughly 2012 to 2015, a period of explosive growth as the company navigated how to manage the information it was gathering on users and debated how best to profit from what it was building. "This knowledge helped them to decide which companies to acquire, and which to treat as a threat". He'd obtained the documents after compelling the founder of US software company Six4Three to hand them over during a business trip to London.

There were four other areas that Collins expressed concerns over ranging from the valuation of friends' data to increase FB revenues to using data collected from the Onavo VPN app. Facebook had "explanations" for them all and maintains that Six4Three only selected "some, but not all" documents and discussion in these matters. "This change meant that a lot of sketchy apps-like the quiz app that sold data to Cambridge Analytica could no longer operate on our platform", he wrote.

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".

In a later statement emailed to Fast Company, the company cautioned that some of the documents, which were originally turned over in a California lawsuit, could be misleading and don't necessarily reflect actual company practices.

It's not clear if Kwon's comment about "no permissions dialog screen" applied to the opt-in notification within the Facebook app.

"To mitigate any bad PR, Facebook planned to make it as hard as possible for users to know that this was one of the underlying features of the upgrade of their app", the summary said.

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