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Mark Zuckerberg utilizes Facebook user information to fight rivals and help friends, leaked documents

Mark Zuckerberg utilizes Facebook user information to fight rivals and help friends, leaked documents


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16. April 2019, 8:30 GMT

Olivia Solon and Cyrus Farivar

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg oversaw the social network's power and management rivals by treating its users as a negotiating circle, while publicly proclaiming that information, about four,000 pages a yr for 2011 from yr to yr and documents bought by NBC Information

including emails, webchats, shows, spreadsheets and meeting summaries, present how Zuckerberg and his administration staff found ways to faucet Facebook information – including associates, relationships, and photographs – as leverage for corporations [19659005] In some instances, Facebook rewards prime corporations by giving them entry to user information. In other instances, it prohibits entry to user information for competing corporations or purposes.

For example, Facebook gave Amazon prolonged access to user information as a result of it spent cash on Facebook promoting and collaborating with the social network when it was released. Hearth-smartphone. Within the second case, Facebook talked about breaking down the user knowledge of overly widespread and competing communication purposes. "All we can do, which makes people feel more comfortable, is really good."

However documents present that behind the scenes, in distinction to public statements made by Facebook, the corporate acquired quite a few methods to require third-party purposes to exchange Facebook has access to users' knowledge including direct funds, advertising costs and information sharing arrangements. While corporations that work collectively to share information about their clients will not be uncommon, Facebook has entry to delicate information that many other corporations don’t personal.

Facebook finally decided not to promote the info instantly, but slightly to show the documents to the developers who have been thought-about Zuckerberg's personal "friends" or who spent their cash on Facebook and shared their useful information.

Facebook denied that it gave priority to developers or partners due to their advertising income or relationships with managers. The company has not been accused of breaking the regulation

Man presents pictures in entrance of a Facebook signal on the company's campus in Menlo Park, California in 2014.Jeff Chiu / AP file

About 400 Different media have beforehand reported four,000 pages of documents, and also a British Member, who has investigated Facebook's privacy practices after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Nevertheless, this cache is the clearest and most comprehensive picture of Facebook's operations throughout a important interval, as the corporate struggled to adapt to the rise of smartphones after its costly debut as a public firm.

hundreds of latest shared documents anonymously leaked to UK researcher Duncan Campbell, who shared them with a handful of media organizations: NBC News, Pc Weekly and Süddeutsche Zeitung. Campbell, founder member of the worldwide analysis consortium, is a computer coverage skilled who has labored in international analysis, together with offshore banking and giant tobacco. The documents seem to be the identical as these acquired by Parliament at the end of 2018 as part of a research on Facebook. Facebook didn’t query the authenticity of the documents NBC News acquired

The documents originate from the California case on the social network and the little recognized Six4Three launch, which challenged Facebook in 2015 after the corporate announced its plans to disconnect from sure forms of user knowledge. The Six4Three software, Pikinis, launched in 2013, was confident that customers can easily find footage of their associates in swimwear.

Facebook has admitted that it thought-about a charge for entry to utilization knowledge. But Facebook has questioned the significance of these discussions by telling Wall Road Journal last yr and NBC Information this month that the corporate was simply milling numerous business models.

Facebook has additionally repeatedly stated that the documents have been "cherry" and have been misleading. Facebook reiterated this place when NBC Information contacted the social media company to comment on just lately leaked documents.

“As we have said many times, the creators of Six4Three – Pikinis – extract these documents years ago as part of a lawsuit to force Facebook to share information about the friends of the application users,” Paul Grewal, vice chairman and vice chairman of Facebook, stated in a press release revealed by the company.

just one aspect of the page and leaves an necessary context away. We will still defend the modifications you made in the 2014/2015 platform to forestall individuals from sharing their pals 'information with builders, resembling Pikinis' creators. The documents have been selectively shed as part of what the courtroom discovered as proof of a criminal offense or fraud so as to publish some, but not all, inner discussions on Facebook as we provoke the modifications. But the details are clear: we’ve got never bought individuals's information. "

" Proof of a criminal offense or fraud "has come from the judge's preliminary decision in the Six4Three case, which dealt with past documents. 19659005] NBC News has not been able to determine if the documents are a perfect image. Facebook refused to provide further evidence to support the cherry decision

However, these recent shipped documents show that plans to sell usage data were processed for years, and they received support from Facebook's top executives, including Zuckerberg, CEO Sheryl Sandberg, Product Manager Chris Cox, and Chief Executive Officer Chris Cox.

When NBC News contacted Facebook to comment, Facebook's lawyers wrote to the judge in the Six4Three case, claiming that Six4Three had leaked documents to the "nationwide broadcasting network" and tried to remove Six4Three's founders. NBC News received from Campbell documents that received them from an anonymous source. Six4Three forbade document leakage

When Facebook finally cut off extensive access to user information in 2015, the transfer affected thousands of competitors and small businesses that relied on what Facebook had previously described as "equitable areas of exercise" for access to information. application that gave women the opportunity to evaluate dated men. Identity fraud detection program called Beehive ID; Swedish breast cancer awareness program Rosa Bandet (pink ribbon)

Zuckerberg's strategy included some of his employees compared to thugs of Thrones while senior engineer David Poll called an external application But the Zuckerberg approach also got admiration: Doug Purdy, Facebook Product Manager, described the CEO.

Facebook refused to comment on these employee communications.

19659028] One of the threads emerging from the documents is the way in which Facebook user data was lost in horse trade or shared information from application developers

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal at the beginning of 2018 and rising awareness of the Six4Three case, Facebook has attempted to create changes to its frame that it made on their platform in 2014 and 2015 due to user privacy concerns. In their statements to media organizations, Facebook has said it has been locked on its platform to protect users from companies that misused user information, such as Cambridge Analytica, and applications that steal users' news feeds or were creepy, such as the Six4Three Bikini Detection Program

however, there is very little evidence that privacy was Facebook's most important concern, and was rarely discussed in thousands of email and meeting summaries. If privacy is mentioned, it is often associated with how Facebook can use it as a PR strategy to soften developers' access to user information. The documentation includes several examples that suggest that these changes are designed to strengthen Facebook's electricity market, not to protect users.

For example, in Six4Three, Allison Hendrix, Facebook Policy Manager, admitted NBC News in a landing in June 2017 that the social network never received any complaints about the Pikinis application, and Facebook did not send Six4Three license notifications. Six4Three, Hendrix confirmed, played the rules set for developers on Facebook

Despite this, Six4Three database, especially access to photos of friends of friends, was cut off in April 2015 as part of extensive changes to Facebook's platform announced a year earlier, affecting up to 40,000 applications. Six4Three soon closed the application.

Ted Kramer, founder of Six4Three.Peter DaSilva / NBC News

”Our case is that Zuckerberg's decision to arrange the trustworthiness of companies on his undoubted platform and place private and sensitive information on billions of people,” says Six4Three founder Ted Kramer.


Facebook was identified early on that working with third-party application developers can help make the social network more interesting and drive platform expansion. From the beginning of 2010, Facebook created tools to help game makers (remember Farmville?) And other applications can connect with their audience to ensure that users spent more time on Facebook.

Facebook achieved this "Graph API" (Application Programming Interface), a common way for software interaction with each other. In addition, the manufacturers of these games were given access to Facebook users, including their connections to friends, likes, locations, updates, photos, and more. user social connections – it was Facebook's key feature that Six4Three and thousands of other companies relied on viral marketing and user growth. From Facebook user information as Facebook was going out of application developers, documents show.

When Facebook was released in May 2012, its share price weakened, which Zuckerberg later described as "disappointing." , who looked at this section, used the term "terminal degradation" to describe a lower in commitment. and their information

& # 39; SELL DATA FOR $ & # 39;

Several options for downloading builders to Facebook and introduced within the presentation to the corporate's Board of Directors on the end of August 2012.

Recommend Consists of: a hard and fast annual charge for builders to evaluate purposes; user payment for purposes requesting user information; and using premium knowledge, resembling user trusts or rating of the strongest relationships between customers and their pals

”The essential retailer is now“ shared information ”, whereas we would like to change it to“ $ for $ ”and / or“ $ distribution ” In August 2012, Chris Daniels, Improvement Director for Facebook, wrote to different main executives in the company who discussed the upcoming presentation.

Discussions continued in October, when Zuckerberg defined to his shut pal Sam Lessin that it’s important to monitor the power of third-party purposes to access Facebook knowledge and attain individuals's associates on the platform. Without this lever, "I don't assume we have now the means to get developers to pay us anything," Zuckerberg wrote via email to Lessin.

In the same week, Zuckerberg rose to the idea of ​​continuing 100 concepts for developers "The path to finding out the true market worth of Facebook's user knowledge" and then "set a public course" for developers.

”The objective would not be the tenders themselves, however via the negotiation course of they might study what the developers would actually pay for (which might be totally different from what they might say if we simply asked them for value), and then we might be extra aware of our path to set public rates of interest. “Zuckerberg

Facebook told NBC News that it was exploring ways to build sustainable business, but eventually decided not to go ahead with these plans.

"I can not think about any cases where such information has been leaked to the developer to developer and caused us a real problem."

Zuckerberg was not possible to distinguish between the possible related to the arrangements for the sharing of information Facebook on privacy risks.

"I'm usually skeptical, "The amount of strategic risk is as great as you think," he wrote in an e-mail sent to Lessin. Facebook told NBC News that this was an example of cherry-picked e-mail designed to strengthen the Six4Three. In the case of

Zuckerberg did not know it at the time, but the anonymous third party application error affecting privacy would create just such a str Ategisen risk next year was panic according to Chatlog between Michael Vernal, who was the leader of the engineer, and other older workers.

It is not clear what happened or what application was involved, but it seems that Zuckerberg's private communications could have leaked from Facebook to an external application unexpectedly

Vernal said "could have been close to the fatal Facebook platform", if "Mark had inadvertently reported revenue because the platform application violated his privacy."

"Hol y crap," replied Product Manager Avichal Garg.

“NEVER HERE HERE HERE,” Vernal added. "I can't tell you how terrible this would have been for all of us if it hadn't been asked quickly."

Vernal and Garg didn’t respond to requests for feedback.


At the end of November 2012, Zuckerberg despatched an extended e-mail message to Facebook's senior administration group saying that Facebook shouldn’t charge developers for access to primary material. Nevertheless, he stated that access to Facebook information should depend upon the builders sharing all the "social content" produced by their purposes back to Facebook, one thing Zuckerberg calls "perfect reciprocity".

The current association through which developers weren’t required to share their information on Facebook, perhaps "good for the world", but it isn’t "good" for us, Zuckerberg wrote by e mail.

He pointed out that although Facebook might charge developers to use user information, the corporate benefited more from the truth that builders wanted compensation from Facebook in variety – with their very own information – and pushing these developers to pay for promoting on the Facebook platform.

Endgame: to be sure that Facebook retains its dominant place out there. 19659005] “The purpose of the platform is to tie the universe of all social applications together so that we can allow much more sharing and remain a central social center,” stated Zuckerberg. for exterior purposes with associates on Facebook, not for delivering Facebook with user information


Zuckerberg's vision of the Facebook collection began to contract with some of its most respected companions, including dozens of software developers from Zuckerberg and Sandberg. Facebook gave its itemizing entry to user knowledge feeds whereas limiting entry to purposes seen by Facebook rivals

These information service choices ready key companions, similar to Tinder, Sony and Microsoft, to change the Facebook platform. intends to announce its annual improvement convention in April 2014 and implement it within one yr.

In one case, described in the June 2013 documents, Amazon acquired a special remedy for the introduction of a gaggle present product, despite being competing with one in every of Facebook's personal merchandise.

”Remind me why we let them do that? Can we get purchasing? “Chris Daniels, then a Facebook business developer, asked by email.

“No, but Amazon is an advertiser and supports this with advertising … and working with us for deeper integration with Fire,” stated Jackie Chang, who works with Facebook's strategic companions.

Amazon Introduced Notification to NBC News: “Amazon uses public APIs provided by Facebook to enable Facebook experience on our products and only use information that is in accordance with our Privacy Policy. ”

Purposes that were not thought-about as strategic companions have been treated in a different way. In the March 2013 discussion, Justin Osofsky, then the discussion board co-director, described limiting the MessageMe software to accessing Facebook knowledge because it had grown too widespread and might compete with Facebook messages. He asked his colleagues to see if another messenger software "hit the growth group radar recently."

"If so, we'd like to limit them at the same time by grouping it into one print cycle," he wrote

& # 39;

Deal negotiations brought about confusion amongst companions who have been accustomed to unlimited entry to Facebook users' information.

"We've given a lot of history historically" (knowledge, distribution) and now we're going to "pay you" by means of it on a reciprocal value, "Vernal, senior engineer, wrote by email in June 2013. He added:" The very fact is that we aren’t actually Some Facebook staff have been dissatisfied with this course, especially how the company appeared to forestall rivals from accessing information.

Here is an excerpt from the December 2013 chatlog between several older engineers about c grasp:

Bryan Klimt: “So we literally group the applications into the bucket according to how we fear we are from them and give them different APIs? … So the message is, "If you are going to compete with us at all, make sure you don't agree with us at all"? I'm just confused. ”

Kevin Lacker:“ Yeah, this is complicated. ”

David Ballot:“ More than complicated, it's unethical. ”

Lacker and Poll refused to comment. Vernal and Klimt didn’t respond to requests for comments

Facebook refused to touch upon worker exchanges


When it came publicly to disclose in depth modifications to Facebook's annual F8 Developers Convention in April 2014, members of the communication staff worked with Zuckerberg to work with report on user belief, not competitors or profitability.

In an e-mail revealed in March 2014, discussing Zuckerberg's foremost speech at an event the place he had to notify builders of the removing of pals' information, Jonny Thaw, Communications Director, wrote that "it may be a tough message for some developers because it can prevent their growth."

“So one idea that was born today was possibly talking about the key changes we make on Facebook. The message would be: "Trust is important to us – on Facebook, we make A, B, and C so people can control and understand what they're sharing – and with platform applications we do D, E and F. & # 39; [19659005] If this does not work, he added that "we could announce some Facebook confidence initiatives during F8" so that the changes made by the developers "seem more natural."

User confidence was crucial when Zuckerberg spoke at the event on April 30, 2014.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, will deliver a key address at the F8 Development Conference in San Francisco in 2014.Ben Margot / AP

“Over the years, one of the things we have heard over and over again is that people want more control over what I do not share their knowledge, especiall y and applications, and they want more to say and control how applications use their knowledge, he told reporters and developers. "And we take this seriously because if people don't have the tools they need to feel comfortable using your applications, it's bad for them and it's bad for you."

Despite the public focus on Facebook's privacy, e-mails, members of staff described the confusion as to how third-party applications to bypass user privacy settings.

Even though users locked their accounts so that their photos and other information would be "just for me", these images could still be transferred to third parties according to the documents

In April 2015, Product Designer Connie Yang told his colleagues that he discovered profile data collection applications he had marked "just for me" and put it "both for you and for others people use this app." , not this direct y breaking what we say to users is "just me"? "

Yang did not respond to requests for comments

Facebook said this was another example of cherry e-mails.

The biggest threat faced by Facebook is not competition but regulation of competition law, which aims to promote honest competition between businesses for the benefit of consumers, using fines or restrictions on acquisitions

Regulatory Authorities have generally tried to build robust competition law cases against technology companies, provide services to users free of charge. If the product is free, it is more difficult to claim that the monopoly damages the consumer. 19659005] But if regulators can show that users pay for access to Facebook with their personal information and that Facebook has appreciated this information as a lever against competitors that could reveal Facebook's competition law complaint, Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, said digital publisher representative.

“These e-mail messages clearly show the value of consumer information on Facebook,” Kint stated. "It shows it's not free."

Facebook stated the service has all the time been free for customers and builders

In February, the Federal Commerce Commission introduced a working group to monitor anti-competitive conduct within the know-how area. According to Joseph Simons, President of the FTC, "to ensure that consumers benefit from free and fair competition."

used its dominant position to crush other aggressive disadvantages by slicing them from its large community, ”David Cicilline, DR.I., Chairman of the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, wrote in the New York Occasions last month. [19659005] Facebook seems to be getting ready for the inevitable when Zuckerberg writes his personal guide at The Washington Submit in March, which requires regulation in areas corresponding to dangerous content and integrity of elections, however not competitors regulation. Facebook observers saw this willingness to present Zuckerberg's effort to appeal to political decision-makers when many donated to the blood.

A personal skilled and former FTC know-how chief Ashkan Soltani stated that Zuckerberg is approaching the "threatening" menace of regulation and "trying to take advantage of things for him."

On the similar time, David Carroll, a brand new faculty professor who continued authorized necessities within the UK after the Cambridge Analytica knowledge scandal, says Zuckerberg is "impressive."

"When the punishment hits, they can be:" Yeah, we agree that we deserve this positive. "It makes them mediators," Carroll stated.

This report was compiled and revealed along with Duncan Campbell (UK), Pc Weekly (UK) and Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany).

Jason Abbruzzese, Michael Cappetta, David Ingram and Ben Popken.