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Facebook Explored Plans to Sell Users’ Data: Report

According to Facebook, these partnerships were agreed via extensive negotiations and documentation, detailing how the third party would use the API, and what data they could and couldn’t access

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg discussed for years plans to sell access to users’ data to fight rivals, NBC News reported on Tuesday, citing leaked documents.

“Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network’s power and control competitors by treating its users’ data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data,” the report said after scanning through about 4,000 pages of leaked company documents.

“In some cases, Facebook would reward favoured companies by giving them access to the data of its users. In other cases, it would deny user-data access to rival companies or apps,” the report claimed.

The documents included emails, webchats, presentations, spreadsheets and meeting summaries.

“For example, Facebook gave Amazon extended access to user data because it was spending money on Facebook advertising and partnering with the social network on the launch of its Fire smartphone,” the report said.

In another case, “Facebook discussed cutting off access to user data for a messaging app that had grown too popular and was viewed as a competitor,” according to the documents.

Facebook, however, denied that it gave preferential treatment to developers or partners because of their ad spending or relationship with executives.

Facebook, Data
A photo shows the Facebook app icon on an iPhone in New York, Feb. 19, 2014. VOA

A New York Times report last year claimed for the first time that Facebook allowed large technology companies and popular apps like Netflix or Spotify access to its users’ personal information.

Facebook reiterated it never allowed its partners to access private messages without a user’s permission.

Facebook Vice President of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong said that the social networking giant worked closely with four partners to integrate messaging capabilities into their products so people could message their Facebook friends — but only if they chose to use Facebook Login.

“These experiences are common in our industry — think of being able to have Alexa read your email aloud or to read your email on Apple’s Mail app,” said Archibong.

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“People could message their friends about what they were listening to on Spotify or watching on Netflix, share folders on Dropbox, or get receipts from money transfers through the Royal Bank of Canada app.

“These experiences were publicly discussed. And they were clear to users and only available when people logged into these services with Facebook. However, they were experimental and have now been shut down for nearly three years,” said Archibong.

According to Facebook, these partnerships were agreed via extensive negotiations and documentation, detailing how the third party would use the API, and what data they could and couldn’t access. (IANS)

Next Story

Facebook Suffers Major Outage Across the World

Other than a 'degraded performance', Facebook was yet to issue a statement whether the outage was fixed

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

Facebook on Sunday faced major outage in the UK, the US and parts of Europe and Asia as users were not able to access News Feed and Notifications.

The outage monitor website Down Detector reported more than 4,000 reports from users, saying they faced issues with News Feed and Notifications features on the social networking giant.

The server status page on Facebook said: “We are currently experiencing degraded performance across the entire platform, resulting in increased request response time. Our team is aware of the issue and is working on a solution”.

facebook, instant games
FILE – Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

The users flooded Twitter, saying they can’t see the popular News Feed.

“When Facebook goes down, I always go to Twitter to check if it’s not just me,” tweeted one user.

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“All my Facebook notifications have gone. Has anyone else experienced the same?” tweeted another.

Other than a ‘degraded performance’, Facebook was yet to issue a statement whether the outage was fixed. (IANS)