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Documents Show Facebook Using User Data as Leverage

06 December 2018

Exhibit number 172 of the original suit provides some supporting details, where an email exchange between Facebook developers suggesting that including new permissions was a "high-risk thing to do from a PR perspective" and assurances that an upgrade path that would omit the new permissions dialog had been explored and was viable.

By sending all internet use by apps on users' iPhones via Facebook's servers the company was able to identify popular apps, the UK Guardian newspaper reported. "It is not clear that there was any user consent for this, nor how Facebook decided which companies should be whitelisted or not".

Westminster has published secret documents which indicate Facebook collected records of its users' phone calls and text messages.

"The files show evidence of Facebook taking aggressive positions against apps, with the outcome that denying them access to data led to the failure of that business", said Collins. He also said that a change to Facebook's Android app policy that resulted in call and message data being recorded was deliberately made hard for users to know about. According to Bloomberg, the California courts sealed the emails, but the United Kingdom compelled the Six4Three founder to hand over a laptop containing the emails, which were acquired during discovery, when the founder visited London.

"It is clear that increasing revenues from major app developers was one of the key drivers behind the Platform 3.0 changes at Facebook", Collins added.

The 223 pages of communication from 2012 to 2015 between high-level Facebook employees, including founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, show how the social media company debated generating revenue by selling access to data, tracked and fended off rivals and braced for potential blowback as it moved to capture more user data.

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"As we've said many times, the documents Six4Three gathered for their baseless case are only part of the story and are presented in a way that is very misleading without additional context", a spokesperson wrote.

"We stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends' data with developers", the company said in a statement. "Like any business, we had many internal conversations about the various ways we could build a sustainable business model for our platform", Facebook said in an emailed statement. "We've never sold people's data". They include emails sent to and from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other senior Facebook executives.

How did they get them?

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

Documents Show Facebook Using User Data as Leverage