Leaked documents from a civil suit against Facebook showed that the social networking company aimed to employ user data as a tool for bargaining and to manipulate competitors.
Almost Some 7,000 pages of documents revealed that Mark Zuckerberg and his team utilized users’ personal information to reward partners by giving them preferential data, while depriving rivals of the same kind of information. For instance, Amazon received special data access after purchasing advertising on Facebook, while an app called MessageMe was denied data.
According to the documents, Facebook planned to portray the moves as protective of user privacy.
The lawsuit was filed by a now defunct startup called Six4Three. In the suit, Facebook is accused of abusing its power over user data. Most of the documents filed in the case have been now sealed by a Judge at Facebook's request.
According to Facebook, the documents Six4Three gathered for this case are only part of the story and are presented in a way that is very misleading without additional context.
The social network giant contended that the aim of the suit by Six4Three is to compel it to provide the kind of data access that was taken advantage of in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal. Up to 87 million users potentially had their data hijacked by political consulting group Cambridge Analytica, which was working for Donald Trump's 2016 Presidential campaign.
Facebook has modified its data sharing app policies since then.
Meanwhile, a British Parliamentary Committee investigating whether Facebook was being used to manipulate election results published 250 pages of internal Facebook documents from the Six4Three civil suit late last year and revealed that the social media giant offered Netflix and other popular apps preferential access to people’s data even after it had tightened its privacy rules.