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

06 December, 2018, 09:54 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pauses while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington

Additionally, Collins stated in his summary of the key issues, "it is clear that increasing revenues from major app developers was one of the key drivers behind the Platform 3.0 changes at Facebook". "So ultimately, I think the objective of platform - even the read side - is to increase sharing back into Facebook".

The documents also show that Facebook has in the past aggressively tried to shut down the competition.

Facebook, which has described the Six4Three case as baseless, said the released communications were "selectively leaked" and it defended its practices.

Facebook said in a statement released to AFP that the Six4Three emails "are only part of the story and are presented in a way that is very misleading without additional context". "We stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends' data with developers".

Parliament's media committee accused Facebook on Wednesday of cutting special deals with some app developers to give them more access to data, while icing out others that it viewed as potential rivals. Facebook is being sued by an app developer.

Internal Facebook documents released by a United Kingdom parliamentary committee offer the clearest evidence yet that the social network has used its enormous trove of user data as a competitive weapon, often in ways created to keep its users in the dark.

"Facebook have clearly entered into whitelisting agreements with certain companies, which meant that after the platform changes in 2014/15 they maintained full access to friends data".

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The U.K. committee seized the documents from app developer Six4Three, maker of a now-defunct bikini-picture search app. Six4Three acquired the files as part of a USA lawsuit that accuses Facebook of deceptive, anti-competitive business practices.

"We don't feel we have had straight answers from Facebook on these important issues, which is why we are releasing the documents", Collins said on Twitter.

-Facebook used Onavo (an Israeli analytics company it bought in 2013) to check customers' usage of mobile apps without their knowledge. "The extensions we granted at that time [to select partners] were short term and only used to prevent people from losing access to specific functions as developers updated their apps".

You can check out the full 250-page document dump including the DCMS's summary at the United Kingdom parliament's website. The engineer suggested shutting down Vine's access to the friends feature, to which Zuckerberg replied, "Yup, go for it".

"This is a pretty high risk thing to do from a PR perspective but it appears that the growth team will charge ahead and do it", Mr Michael LeBeau, an employee, said in a 2015 e-mail.

Critics have drawn attention to this kind of behavior as being potentially in violation of U.S. and European antitrust and anti-monopoly laws, as the dominant Facebook platform can arguably be seen blocking competitors attempts to enter its market. Mr Mike Vernal, a former Facebook executive, said during one exchange. This would be a momentous decision for any company, to say nothing of one with Facebook's privacy track record and reputation, even in 2015, of sprinting through ethical minefields.

For instance, in 2013, the Royal Bank of Canada wanted to launch a new payments app, which would get more people signed up if the bank could tap into friends' lists on Facebook. The app also sent valuable data on what types of apps people were downloading back to Facebook.

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