World News

Facebook's seized files published by MPs

Facebook's seized files published by MPs

A British parliamentary committee accused Facebook on Wednesday of giving companies such as Netflix preferential access to users' data even after it tightened its privacy rules in 2014-15. The defunct app developer obtained them as part of its ongoing lawsuit in California state court alleging that Facebook violated promises to developers.

The cache was seized in November as part of a fake news enquiry and have now been published on the parliament website.

Facebook touted itself as championing privacy four years ago when it chose to restrict outsider developers' access to data about its users' friends.

Ted Kramer, the head of an app company Six4Three suing the social network, was last month ordered to hand over internal Facebook emails by Damian Collins, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

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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Facebook, which has described the Six4Three case as baseless, said the released communications are misleading without additional context, but did not elaborate.

-Mark Zuckerberg wanted "full reciprocity" between Facebook and app developers i.e. you share all your data on users with us, and we'll share all of ours with you. "Like any business, we had many of internal conversations about the various ways we could build a sustainable business model for our platform". With regards to Onavo, Facebook argues "we've always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used, including by Facebook".

Though filed under seal and redacted in the lawsuit, Collins said the material needed to be made public because "they raise important questions about how Facebook treats users' data, their policies for working with app developers, and how they exercise their dominant position in the social media market".

A January 2013 email in the documents from Justin Osofsky, currently Facebook's vice president for global operations and media partnerships, notes that Twitter had just launched Vine, its now-discontinued short-video service, which was allowing their users to find friends via Facebook.

"Yup, go for it", Zuckerberg responded.


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