Mark Zuckerberg Shared Facebook User Data With His Friends, Leaked Documents Reveal

JD Lasica  Flickr

JD Lasica Flickr

Investors will attempt to oust Mark Zuckerberg as chairman of Facebook's Board of Directors at Facebook's annual meeting on May 30.

The report, based on 4,000 internal Facebook documents between 2011 and 2015, including emails and webchats, shows that the social network spent years debating the merits of shopping the user data - despite Zuckerberg's public insistence in 2009 that Facebook would never sell user information without their consent. They provide context to why Facebook made the changes that it did around user data in 2014 and 2015.

Facebook's executive team, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, used data on Facebook users as leverage over partner companies.

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 Pikinis 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". User data they trafficked in included information about friends, relationships and photos.

He noted that though Facebook could charge developers to access user data, the company stood to benefit more from requiring developers to compensate Facebook in kind - with their own data - and by pushing those developers to pay for advertising on Facebook's platform.

These new documents show the role that restricting access to data played in burgeoning Facebook's struggling business, after its struggling IPO, and the rise of smartphones caused users to spend less time on Facebook.

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Several negative stories about Facebook are filling the news vacuum after the Notre Dame fire, as the social media behemoth finds itself in the crosshairs of media and Democrats still seeking a scapegoat for the 2016 election. In another case, Facebook discussed denying access to user data for a messaging app that had grown too popular it was viewed as a competitor. However, he said that access to Facebook data should be contingent on the developers sharing all of the "social content" generated by their apps back to Facebook, something Zuckerberg calls "full reciprocity".

CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat down in front of lawmakers during the Cambridge analytical saga.

For example, these documents say Facebook allowed special access to data for friends of Zuckerberg, such as Amazon, an advertiser.

Despite these transgressions, Facebook hasn't been accused of breaking the law.

An anonymous source leaked the documents to investigative journalist Duncan Campbell, who shared the cache with NBC News, Computer Weekly, and Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Experts said the documents appear to be the same ones obtained by the British Parliament in late 2018 as part of an investigation into Facebook.

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