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UK Investigation – Facebook allegedly offered advertisers special access to users’ data and activities

Washington Post: [see also Motherboard for coverage w/out payall]”A key British lawmaker alleged Wednesday that Facebook maintained “whitelisting agreements” that gave select companies preferential access to valuable user data several years ago, offering insight into how the company balanced concerns about user privacy with the business imperative of growing revenue. Damian Collins, chairman of a British parliamentary committee that has led a wide-ranging investigation into Facebook and its dealings with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, on Wednesday released a summary of findings drawn from documents from a lawsuit against the social network, along with more than 200 pages of documents, many of them labeled “Confidential.” Collins’ allegation echoes a key claim from the lawsuit, which was filed by an app developer in a California court. Facebook, which has long said it does not sell user data, on Wednesday denied that it used its data as a bargaining chip in exchange for advertising and other concessions, as the app developer, Six4Three, has alleged in its suit.

The documents released in Britain, part of a larger trove which long have been sealed in the lawsuit, affording a rare glimpse into the inner workings of one of the world’s most prominent and profitable companies during an uncertain time. The period covered by the documents was when Facebook, as a newly-public company, sought to reorganize around emerging mobile devices while seeking to manage persistent claims that it was cavalier with user privacy. Some of the companies mentioned in the newly-released documents include Airbnb, Netflix, Royal Bank of Canada, Lyft, Tinder and Badoo…”

  • See also Mark Zuckerberg’s response – “This week a British Parliament committee published some internal Facebook emails, which mostly include internal discussions leading up to changes we made to our developer platform to shut down abusive apps in 2014-2015. Since these emails were only part of our discussions, I want to share some more context around the decisions we made…”

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