Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Leveraged User Data to Help Friends and Punish Rivals

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Facebook's executive team, including Mark Zuckerberg, used the data of Facebook users as leverage over partner companies, according to leaked emails, webchats, presentations, spreadsheets, and more obtained by NBC News.

    More than 4,000 pages of leaked documents from 2011 to 2015 provide insight into how Facebook was taking advantage of user data while publicly promising to protect user privacy before and after its 2015 move to end broad access to user data.


    The documents were sent to NBC News by British journalist Duncan Campbell and originated from a 2015 lawsuit filed against Facebook by startup Six4Three after Facebook cut back on third-party data access. Six4Three had an app called Pikinis that let users find photos of their friends in swimsuits that was not able to function after Facebook's data changes.

    Facebook has claimed that it limited data access to protect user privacy and to keep its users safe from companies that mishandled data, but internally, privacy was not the concern Facebook was addressing when making the move. Instead, the documents suggest Facebook ended access to user data to give it more power over third-party apps and partner companies.
    Companies favored by Facebook were given access to the data of Facebook users through exclusive deals struck before the data changes, while rival companies or apps were denied access. Amazon, for example, was provided with "extended access" to Facebook user data because of its spending on Facebook advertising and its Fire phone partnership, while data was restricted from other apps.

    Facebook believed app developers were getting more value from Facebook user data than Facebook was getting from app developers, a factor that led Facebook to limit access to user data and consider other monetization tactics.

    According to NBC News and previously leaked documents, Facebook mulled ways for third-party apps to provide monetary compensation for user data, ranging from direct payment to advertising spending and data sharing setups, but ultimately decided on providing access to app developers who were "personal friends" of Zuckerberg or who spent money on Facebook and shared their own data.

    Facebook has previously confirmed that it considered charging companies for access to user data, but has downplayed the discussions as a mere consideration of different business models. Approximately 400 pages of the 4,000 that NBC News obtained have been leaked previously, and Facebook has called these past documents "cherry-picked" and "misleading."

    NBC News says that the new documents suggest charging for user data was more than a cursory exploration of different business models, as Facebook discussed plans to sell user data for years. Senior executives, including Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, and CPO Chris Cox were in favor of selling data.

    In emails to one of his friends in 2012, Zuckerberg explained that without limiting access to Facebook data, Facebook wouldn't have "any way to get developers to pay [Facebook] at all." He also said that he didn't feel that data leaks were a risk factor.
    Facebook considered 100 deals with app developers to figure out the "real market value" of Facebook user data to learn "what developers would actually pay."

    Zuckerberg ultimately decided not to charge outright for data access, but before implementing the sweeping changes in 2015, he explained in 2012 that access to Facebook data should be contingent on developers sharing "social content" generated by their apps back to Facebook and paying for advertising.

    According to NBC News, the newly leaked documents could further an antitrust case against Facebook by establishing the value that Facebook placed on user data.
    The full exploration into Facebook's data sharing practices and additional details gleaned from the leaked documents can be read over at NBC News and is well worth checking out for anyone interested in Facebook's motivations.

    Article Link: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Leveraged User Data to Help Friends and Punish Rivals
  2. MyMacintosh macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2012
    *obligatory "Facebook is evil and has a business model of selling your data for profit" comment*
  3. ikir macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2007
    Ok ok probably it is better to really quit Facebook
  4. AngerDanger, Apr 16, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019

    AngerDanger macrumors 601


    Dec 9, 2008
    I'm reminded of the village wolf promising a safety-focussed field for sheep to graze. Dunno why I thought of that…

    Mark Zuckerberg Wolf PRivacy.jpg
  5. IRockThat828pScreen macrumors regular


    Jan 15, 2019
    And here's your weekly Facebook controversy!!!
  6. B4U macrumors 68000


    Oct 11, 2012
    Undisclosed location
    The sheeple using this crap need to learn the truth the hard way.
    This cancer to human kind needs to be gotten rid of once and for all.
  7. The Barron macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2009
    Why does this not surprise me from Zuck & Facebook? Hah!
    Facebook & its leaders are so full of themselves as they count their millions. Come on people, Wake Up!
  8. bchery21 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 3, 2009
    Boston, MA
    I deleted my facebook account a long time ago. Was hard at the time since all my friends were still using it but so happy I did it (in light of all this).
  9. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    And still everyone still keeps posting on Facebook... "you might miss something!"
  10. gugy macrumors 68040


    Jan 31, 2005
    La Jolla, CA
    I quit Facebook a few months back. So glad I did. After all this time I went back to check on and what I notice was a complete waste of time and so many people showing only their best story. It should be called Fakebook.
    I don't miss it at all. It's a great feeling leaving that behind.
  11. doomfront macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2012
    The only downside is the events I miss and some local businesses only have Facebook pages so it's not as easy to get info. But other than that I don't regret deleting mine, hardly ever used it to begin with since I finished undergrad years ago

    I really don't believe the majority of people care. I didn't until I took data science classes and saw just how much of our information that these companies have.
  12. Pepe4life macrumors regular


    Nov 15, 2018
    There are many fools out there boycotting Facebook to use whatsapp instead. People need to wake up
  13. iLoveDeveloping macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2009
    It’s disgusting and the company is evil blah blah blah, but I honestly don’t think anyone cares. I don’t use Facebook but I’m sure the millions that do use it to look up friends, and chat with them, stalk people and upload photos and memes. Unless there is another place to do this, I honesty don’t think anyone really cares. That’s the reason they ruined Instagram, they made it like Facebook all about friend ‘circles’, what people you follow like instead of at the beginning when Instagram algorithm was really good and showed me what I was interested in, Facebook just throws a random bunch of crap at me and see what’s sticks not to mention a million ads. I really hope Facebook dies someday but it won’t be ANY day soon. People are too addicted and they know it, hell they even manipulate it to keep people hooked.
  14. 7thson macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2012
    Six Rivers, CA
    I have no choice but to escalate my assessment of Facebook as a dumpster fire to the Centerville, PA of tech disasters. Abort, bail out, leave , delete your account, just do it.
  15. nathansz macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2017
  16. HiVolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 29, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    Never had a FB account, never will.

    I'm not an internet privacy nut, and I've been on the internet since its early beginnings to know there's little privacy on the internet, but this company is just beyond them all.
  17. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    Facebook is evil. Unfortunately people don’t (yet) feel that way about Instagram.
  18. rjohnstone macrumors 68040


    Dec 28, 2007
    PHX, AZ.
    I still have my FB account.
    Don't really post anything on there, mainly use it for my guitar groups.

    Same thing with Instagram. Keep it for the product contacts, not much need there for personal use.

    I'm cleared eyed about what happens to the data, so they get as little from me as possible.
  19. thirteen1031 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2004
    Agreed. Unfortunately, that’s still closing the barn door after the horses are gone, right? :confused: You’d have to quit and change all the data they got from you to make a difference.
  20. jimbobb24 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2005
    The title is misleading and suggests he used the data in a personal way (Friends). Nothing new here. Facebook and Google sell you. We finally created a surveillance state that rivals the Socialist dictatorship states and we did it voluntarily.
  21. Peace macrumors Core


    Apr 1, 2005
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    Proud owner of never ever using Facebook.
  22. NightFox macrumors 68020


    May 10, 2005
    Shropshire, UK
    Yep, sounds like an app to address a totally legitimate and reasonable requirement with no potential for abuse.
  23. thadoggfather macrumors G4


    Oct 1, 2007
    What hasnt FB done at this point?

    My favorite proposition of Zuck's is encouraging uploading nudes in a supposed effort to protect users from revenge porn.

    Oh man, what a demon

  24. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
  25. thefarang macrumors member


    May 12, 2015
    I disagree. I think people care. But not enough to quit using Facebook.

    I've heard a lot of people say that the government should do something. You know, because, rather than doing something yourself, much easier if the government just forces Facebook to quit selling your personal data.

    And while that does frustrate me a bit, when you think about it, Facebook has created the world's best dopamine delivery system and they have hundreds of millions of addicts. It's not really the addict's fault.

    Your mom doesn't keep using Facebook based on some sort of rational thought. She's addicted to it. Your friend hasn't weighed all of the pros and cons, they literally cannot go more than 10 minutes without checking their phone to see if they've gotten any dopamine updates.

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