Another week, another set of reminders that, while Facebook likes to paint itself as a company with "optimistic" that it is simply to help users, and connect the world, the reality is very different. This week, these reminders include a collection of recently released documents, providing that the company has adopted a number of features and policies, even if he knew that these elections will harm the user and undermines innovation.
Yesterday, a member of the United Kingdom Parliament published storehouse of internal documents on Facebook, received as part of a trial the company called Six4Three. E-mails, memos, and slides to shed new light on the Facebook behavior of individuals before, during and after the events leading to Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Here are some key points of the approximately 250 pages of documents.
Facebook Using the new Android Update to pry into the personal life in the Eternal Way worse
The documents include some of the internal debate that led to the sneaky logging facebook Messenger phone calls and text messages Android users storiesIf a user has found, which makes Communicator last spring, it has caused public outrage right on the heels of news Cambridge Analytica. Facebook responded "Fact checking" press release insisting that the Messenger never collected such data without explicit user permission.
The newly discovered documents from 2015, howeverFacebook employees to discuss plans to force users to upgrade to a new, more particularly invasive versions of Messenger "without exposing their permissions dialog android at all", even knowing that such a distortion of the native features of the application has been "quite high thing? the risk to do in terms of PR ".
Such disregard for the user's consent around the phone numbers and contact information recalls previous studies and study exposing improper use of Facebook for two-factor authentication of users' telephone numbers for targeted advertising, Just as disturbing to the & # 39 is a reference to the use of text messages and call history to inform in advance the supernatural PYMK, or people you may know, Function for your friends.
"I think we have to leak the information for developers"
The central theme of the documents, as Facebook has chosen to allow third-party developers to use their user data. They believe that Mark Zuckerberg is recognized at an early stage that access to Facebook data was extremely valuable for other companies, and that Facebook management were determined to use this value.
A bit of context: in 2010, Facebook launched version 1.0 API Graph, extremely powerful, and approvals-set of tools, third-party developers can use to access data about the users of their applications and their friends.
Dozens of letters to show how the company discussed monetize access to this data. Guide Several schemes have been proposed to the company from charging some developers to access each user to requiring that the application "[Facebook] He does not want to share data with "spend some money in a year on the Facebook advertising platform or lose access to your data.
NEKO with & # 39 is an acronym for Facebook for its mobile advertising system to install applications.
User needs were themselves less of a problem. At some point, in November 2012, by e-mail, an employee referred to "responsibility" of the risk of such developers open access to such powerful information.
Of course, two years later that the "leak" is exactly what happened: the shadow "poll" the application was able to get access to data on 50 million people, who then sold in Cambridge Analytica.
"Lists" and access to user data
In 2015, partly in response to concerns about privacy, Facebook has moved to a more restrictive Graph version 2.0 API. This version makes it more difficult to obtain data about the user's friends.
However, the documents indicate that some companies were "white list", and continued to receive privileged access to user data after API change without notice or transparent criteria on which companies should be whitelisted or not.
Companies that have been granted a "white list" of access to the expansion of other data included after Netflix API changes, AirBnB, LYFT and Bumble, plus Badoo dating service and its spin-off of hot or not.
The vast majority of small-scale applications as well as large companies such as Ticketmaster, have been denied access.
User data anticompetitive Lever & # 39; e
Both before and after the change API Facebook, documents show that the company intentionally withheld or granted access to the data, to blow the competition. In an e-interview with January 2013, one employee announced the launch of the application Vine Twitter, used on Facebook Friends API. The employee asked them to "shut down" access to war. Answer Mark Zuckerberg?
"Yes, go for it."
A significant part of the inner sheets to mention Facebook software "Data reciprocity": that is, that require applications that use data from Facebook, to allow its users to share all that data back to Facebook. This is ironic, considering convinced Facebook refusal to allow mutual access to its own user's contact list after using the contact export feature Gmail, to fuel its early growth.
In an email dated 19 November 2012, Zuckerberg laid out the thinking of the company:
It is not surprising that the company will decide what is good for him and his profit, but with & # 39 is problem when Facebook violates the rights of users and innovation, to get there. And while Facebook has demanded reciprocity from its developers, it provides access to its competitors.
False User Scope Out Security Competitors
Facebook acquired Onavo Protect, VPN-application autumn 2013 application has been marketed as a way for users to protect their web activity from prying eyes, but it seems that facebook used it "safe" to collect data for all applications on a user's phone and immediately began mining the data to gain a competitive advantage. Recently published slide show, Facebook Onavo used to measure the coverage of competing social apps, including Twitter, vine, and the path and measure its penetration in emerging markets such as India.
A "strictly confidential" slide, which shows Onavo statistics for other major applications.
In August, Apple finally banned Onavo from its app store for the collection of such data in violation of its Terms of Service. These documents indicate that Facebook collects application data and use it to inform strategic decisions from the beginning.
But all of your data is literally Sale
In response to the documents, several Facebook press statement as well as own letter of Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook protect the company with the refrain, "We have never sold anyone's data."
This defense fails because it does not address the core issues. Of course, Facebook does not sell user data directly advertisers. He should not have. Facebook tried to exchange the user access to information and in other ways. In another strange example of the documents, Facebook with & # 39; offer was rubbed with privileged access API transition in exchange for use of the trademark in the tinder «Moments». And, of course, Facebook retains light, selling access to individual users attention in the form of targeted commercials.
No matter how Zuckerberg cut it, your data is not in the center of the Facebook business. On the basis of these documents, it seems that Facebook has absorbed as much data as possible through agreement "reciprocity" with other programs and shares it with insufficient considering the consequences for users. Then, after a rollback of its API permits the exchange of data, the company apparently used privileged access to user data or as a lever to get what he wanted from other companies or weapon against its competitorsYou, and have always been the most valuable product of Facebook.