Data: FB ‘picks favourites’

The Witness - - NEWS -

FACE­BOOK Inc of­fered some com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Net­flix and Airbnb, ac­cess to data about users’ friends it did not make avail­able to most other apps in 2015, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments re­leased by a Bri­tish law­maker who said the so­cial me­dia com­pany dodged ques­tions about pri­vacy prac­tices and mar­ket dom­i­nance.

The 223 pages re­leased on Wed­nes­day were in­ter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions from 2012 to 2015 be­tween com­pany lead­ers, in­clud­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Zucker­berg, pro­vid­ing fresh ev­i­dence and spark­ing new po­lit­i­cal scru­tiny about pre­vi­ously aired al­le­ga­tions that Face­book has picked favourites and en­gaged in anti-com­pet­i­tive be­hav­ior.

Face­book said it stood by its de­ci­sions. “The facts are clear. We’ve never sold peo­ple’s data,” it said.

The com­pany said it would re­lax one “out-of-date” pol­icy that re­stricted com­peti­tors’ use of its data. Pre­vi­ously, “Mark level sig­noff” would have been re­quired for an ex­emp­tion to the pol­icy, ac­cord­ing to one doc­u­ment, re­fer­ring to Zucker­berg.

The doc­u­ments show that Face­book tracked growth of com­peti­tors and de­nied them ac­cess to key data. Zucker­berg agreed to se­nior ex­ec­u­tive Justin Osof­sky’s re­quest in 2013 to stop giv­ing friends’ list ac­cess to Vine on the day that so­cial me­dia ri­val Twit­ter launched the video-shar­ing ser­vice.

Dat­ing app Badoo, Net­flix and Airbnb were among com­pa­nies “whitelisted” for ac­cess to data about users’ friends, the doc­u­ments showed. Net­flix, Airbnb, and Badoo did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment. — Reuters.

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