Facebook scandals

A trove of internal communications from senior level Facebook employees were released by a British parliamentary committee earlier this week. The documents were seized in late November, and span a period from 2012 to 2015. The documents were initially sealed in U.S. courts as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the social media giant.

Revelations from the communications include:

  • An update to Facebook’s Android app collected user’s phone data, including call lengths, dates, times, text messages, and phone call recipients, even when the app wasn’t being used.   
  • Senior level staff discussed removing user data restrictions for developers with advertising budgets exceeding $250,000. 
  • Facebook used Ontavo, its security app, to measure how often people used other apps on their phones. The data collected impacted their decision to acquire WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion, and to restrict Vine access to Facebook user data.

The release of the internal documents is part of a larger investigation into the company’s business practices.

Like any organization, we had a lot of internal discussion and people raised different ideas,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his Facebook profile. “I understand there is a lot of scrutiny on how we run our systems. That’s healthy given the vast number of people who use our services around the world, and it is right that we are constantly asked to explain what we do.”