Documents uncovered by NBC news indicate that Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has been exploiting user data as a means to gain leverage over rivals.
These documents include emails, web chats, presentations, spreadsheets and meeting summaries, revealing how Zuckerberg had planned to utilise the data despite insisting that governments need to do more to protect user’s data at the beginning of the month.
Several documents also revealed how Zuckerberg would reward ‘friends’ who spend money on Facebook advertising with user data while denying rivals of the same right.
Reports show that Facebook provided Amazon with extended access to user data because it was spending money on Facebook advertising when launching the Fire smartphone. Yet there were also conversations discussing cutting off access to user data for a messaging app that had become prominent in the instant messaging field and was now considered a competitor to Facebook Messenger.
Amazon denied the claims with a statement maintaining that:
Likewise, Zuckerberg denies the allegations by insisting that Facebook was taking measures to further protect user’s privacy and maintain that the documents had been ‘cherry-picked’ in an attempt to damage the reputation of the globally successful social network.
Paul Grewal, vice president and deputy general counsel at Facebook, has said:
“The set of documents, by design, tells only one side of the story and omits important context. We still stand by the platform changes we made in 2014/2015 to prevent people from sharing their friends’ information with developers like the creators of Pikinis.”
“The documents were selectively leaked as part of what the court found was evidence of a crime or fraud to publish some, but not all, of the internal discussions at Facebook at the time of our platform changes. But the facts are clear: we’ve never sold people’s data,” he explained.
However, spokespeople at Facebook, including Zuckerberg, continue to refuse comment on email threads between employees debating how to make these activities appear ethical to the public.
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