Facebook Used People’s Data As A Bargaining Chip, Emails

One of the largest social media channel, Facebook executives in recent years had appeared to discuss the giving access to their valuable user data to some of the companies that brought up the advertising when it was struggling to launch its own mobile ad business, according to the report which has been revealed.

In an ongoing federal court case against the Facebook, the plaintiffs claim that the social media giant doled out the people data secretly and selectively in exchange for the advertising purchases or with some other concessions, even as other were cut off, in running up their business. The case was brought by one such app, Six4Three which also claims to have its business was destroyed in 2015 by the Facebook actions.

In one of the exchanges from the filings, some of the Facebook employees discussed the shutting down access “in one-go to all apps that don't spend . . . At least $250k a year to maintain access to the data,” according to the trove. The documents reference email exchanges regarding Facebook's relations with several large commercial partners, including Lyft, Tinder, Amazon, Airbnb and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Facebook as of now has denied that it exchanges access to people data for the commercial benefit.

“The documents Six4Three gathered for this baseless case are only part of the story and are presented in a way that is very misleading without additional context,” said Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook's director of developer platforms and programs, in a statement. “We stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends' data with developers. Any short-term extensions granted during this platform transition were to prevent the changes from breaking the user experience.”

“Amazon uses APIs provided by Facebook in order to enable Facebook experiences for our products. For example, giving customers the option to sync Facebook contacts on an Amazon Tablet. We use the information only in accordance with our privacy policy,” an Amazon spokesperson said.

In a different exchange, an employee has been remarked to colleagues that removing access to the API could appear to be “an indirect way to drive” mobile app installation ads.

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