Among the documents released to The Globe is an e-mail exchange from 2012 between Facebook employees complaining that developers were being allowed to freely access data about Facebook users, but weren’t providing enough of their own data in exchange. “We gave them our crown jewels, and they had complete control over how to integrate it,” wrote Mike Vernal, who was then vice-president for product and engineering. “On the flip side, if we wanted something in return – some value from the partner – we basically had to cajole them into giving it to us.
Facebook sought to force outside developers to share customer data with the social-media giant or risk losing access to personal information about Facebook users, leaked company documents reveal.
Facebook devised a plan to require outside companies accessing information about Facebook users to provide data about their customers to the social-media firm – including by scouring the companies’ websites if the information wasn’t available by other means. “Our strategy is basically – you can access our social graph as long as we can access your social actions (both with user consent),” Mr. Vernal wrote.
But the documents paint a picture of Facebook executives focused deeply on finding ways to extract as much value from user data as possible. “You simply allow ways of targeting messages extremely narrowly/leveraging everything known about any person,” Mr. Lessin wrote to Mr. Zuckerberg in 2012.
Plans to demand that developers building apps for the platform agree to data-sharing arrangements with Facebook were being vigorously discussed inside the company in the years after Facebook’s 2012 initial public offering, as executives argued that Facebook’s success lay in exploiting as much user data as possible.
Documents released by the British parliamentary committee last year suggested RBC was given access to read Facebook users’ private messages as part of a service that allowed customers to send money through Facebook Messenger.