Facebook Dismisses Allegations That It Allowed User-Data Access To Allies
Around 4,000 pages of leaked Facebook documents indicated that CEO Mark Zuckerberg approved the scheme to use private data of platform users as a bargaining tool in favor of partner companies and against rivals. The company has denied these allegations.
According to the leaked documents obtained by NBC News, Zuckerberg and a number of board members and management leaders used the social network's information to reward ally firms that supported Facebook. The leveraged data include photos, relationships, and friends, as revealed by the documents.
While Facebook reportedly shared private user information to its partners, it allegedly denied access to rival firms or apps that either showed potential in the social networking sector or had been gaining popularity in the field.
Facebook has dismissed allegations about its bargaining of user data. The company also said leaked documents were misleading and "cherry-picked." The popular social media platform said that the documents tell "only one side of the story and omits important context."
Analysts noted that despite Facebook's dismissal of the claims, the new leak could be an indication that plans to sell user data have been discussed by Zuckerberg and company leaders for years.
The senior executives who could have been part of the discussions are chief product officer Chris Cox, VP of growth, Javier Olivan, and Zuckerberg's long-term partner and chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.
Other industry analysts stressed that Facebook could face a set of regulatory implications with the release of the new documents. The documents point to conversations that completely violate the company's stance on protecting user privacy.
Faceboook has yet to officially release a statement on the allegations that it treated private user information as a tool that could haul in additional profits for the social media behemoth.
It is worth noting that Zuckerberg pledged in the past that Facebook will never sell information that users entrusted to the platform. Furthermore, the company was embroiled in a political battle when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica was able to access information of around 87 million users.
The latest in Facebook's string of controversies is Zuckerberg's alleged clash with WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton. Aside from the WhatsApp founders, Wired revealed this week that Zuckerberg had conflicts with Instagram founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom.
Users and advocates are now calling on Zuckerberg's company to review its privacy policies for app developers and partner companies as well as those interested in partnering with the social media leader.