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Documents leaked by UK lawmaker reveal Facebook offered preferential access to users’ data

Facebook’s privacy laws are once again under fire as documents reveal potentially damning evidence of the company providing preferential access to data to certain companies even after announcing changes to its platform in 2015. Facebook gave certain “whitelisted” companies access to friends’ data according to documents revealed by Damian Collins. Netflix, Airbnb, dating app Badoo, and Lyft were some of these whitelisted companies.

The UK Parliament decided to look into Facebook’s privacy laws and appointed lawmaker Damian Collins to spearhead the investigation. The investigation team seized the documents from Six4Three which contain over 250 pages of email correspondence from CEO Mark Zuckerberg.  Six4Three is currently embroiled in a heated court battle against Facebook accusing the company of showing favouritism.

The lawmaker claimed that Facebook took aggressive actions against companies it deemed its direct competition. Mark was said to have approved barring friends’ data access to Vine, which was an extremely popular social media platform back in 2015. Evidence that Facebook’s refusal to share data with some apps caused them to fail has also come up.  The leaked emails also suggested Mark Zuckerberg briefly deliberating selling access to user data as a means of generating revenue back in 2012.

The documents directly negate Facebook’s long-held claim it does not sell access to its users’ data. “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 Facebook spokesperson said, though the released emails suggest otherwise.

Over the past couple of years, Facebook has been grappling with one problem after the other. First, there was the data breach and now it is dealing with a string of high profile departures from the organization and the lawsuit by Six4Three.


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