Facebook emails say it collected call records, knowing it was 'high-risk'

Internal docs show Facebook absolutely loves your data

Credit Anthony Quintano CC

Facebook has not denied the authenticity of the documents but "has denied that it offered preferential access to data for major advertisers".

According to Mr Collins' note, Facebook used analytics software to "conduct global surveys of the usage of mobile apps by customers. apparently without their knowledge". This information was used to suss out potential companies to acquire.

In 2013, such information showed that messaging program WhatsApp was more popular than Facebook's Messenger app and a year later Facebook purchased WhatsApp.

Ted Kramer, the head of an app company Six4Three suing the social network, was last month ordered to hand over internal Facebook emails by Damian Collins, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

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Parliament seized the documents from now defunct app developer Six4Three at the end of November during a trip by the company's founder to London.

The revelation comes from a trove of Facebook emails, presentations, and documents published by UK Parliament as part of its ongoing investigation into privacy and disinformation.

Facebook also used its position as user data provider to affect the businesses of its competitors in social media, like Twitter, the report said. "We don't feel we have had straight answers from Facebook on these important issues, which is why we are releasing the documents".

The UK has released a 250 page document containing private emails from Facebook, including communiques from Mark Zuckerberg himself.

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Collins obtained the documents from Six4Three, an app developer that is now engaged in a legal battle with Facebook.

Facebook knew collecting call records and text message history was sensitive, but did it anyway, according to leaked emails. Facebook planned to make it as hard as possible for users to know that this was happening.

"Like any business, we had many of internal conversations about the various ways we could build a sustainable business model for our platform", Facebook said in an emailed statement. The statement adds, "The facts are clear: we've never sold people's data".

The documents suggest robust internal discussions about linking data to revenue.

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Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 24, 2018. The good news about full reciprocity [where apps let users share their activity back to Facebook] is that for bigger social companies we might otherwise be anxious about, if they're enabling their users to push all of their social content back into Facebook then we're probably fine with them.

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