Facebook staff discussed charging companies for access to user data, before ultimately deciding against such a policy, according to reports. According to Ars Technica and the Wall Street Journal, an 18-page court filing contains three pages that were supposed to be blacked out because they contain “sensitive discussion of Facebook’s internal strategic analysis of third-party applications”, Facebook said in other court filings. But while the sensitive discussions were masked with a black bar, the underlying text was not removed from digital versions of the documents, allowing it to be uncovered. That text reportedly shows Facebook staff discussing how to use access to user data to extract higher advertising spend from major clients, in emails dating from 2012 and 2013. The conversations occurred at roughly the time that Facebook decided to change the way third-party developers could access user data, which had the effect of closing the hole through which Cambridge Analytica partner GSR had managed to extract the personal information of millions of Facebook users.
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Jan 18, 2019