Facebook used user data to control competitors and rivals
Leaked documents from a lawsuit filed by a now-defunct startup Six4Three on Facebook shows some 700 pages revealing how Facebook leveraged user data against rivals and offered it up as a sop to friends.NBC News reported how Facebook’s executive team harnessed user data and used it as a bargaining chip to manipulate rivals. There are thousands of leaked documents to support that this was done under the supervision of the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
NBC News has published an entire log of documents containing 7,000 pages including 4,000 internal communications such as emails, web chats, notes, presentations, spreadsheets on Facebook. These documents are dated between 2011 and 2015 that disclose the company’s strategy of rewarding partners by giving them preferential data while denying the same to competitors.
The lawsuit that resulted in this major leak, was filed by Six4Three, a now inoperative startup which created the failed app Pikinis. The app allowed users to view pictures posted by people on Facebook and in order to work, the software required access to data on Facebook. The suit accuses Facebook of misusing and abusing data and uneven distribution of it. Other apps including Lulu, Beehive ID, and Rosa Bandet couldn’t do business anymore after losing access to data.
The documents also revealed similar operations, for instance, the social network company gave extended access to user data to Amazon, as it partnered with Facebook and spent on Facebook advertising while denied data to MessageMe, a messaging app when it grew large enough to be a competition to Facebook.
Commenting on the documents, Facebook’s vice president and deputy general counsel, Paul Grewal, told NBC News, “As we’ve said many times, Six4Three creators of the Bikinis app cherry-picked these documents from years ago as part of a lawsuit to force Facebook to share information on friends of the app’s users.”
However, no evidence has been provided by the company to support the “cherry-picked” claim.
In March, this year Zuckerberg said, that Facebook would focus more on its user’s privacy as the social network’s future. But for Facebook, privacy seems like a PR stunt and data more of a currency.