In a leak of number of email exchanges among Facebook employees it has been revealed that Facebook, at one point, was considering charging companies at least $250,000 for access to one of its valuable store of user data – Facebook Graph API.
It was back in 2012 when Facebook Inc. considered charging companies for continued access to user data, revealed an un-redacted court document viewed by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The emails in these document reveal that Facebook employees pushed some of its advertisers to spend more in return of increased access to users’ data.
Redacting a document means censoring or obscuring of part of a text for legal or security purposes, however Facebook failed to redact some its document submitted to court.
Going further with this report by WSJ, Ars Technica, a tech news portal, accessed some of redacted pages too, which have blacked-out text, and these revealed blocks of text suggest that the social networking giant gave extended access to the v1.0 of Graph API to numerous companies not only including Nissan and Royal Bank of Canada but now also to Chrysler/Fiat, Lyft, Airbnb, and Netflix, among others.
It was quite interesting that Ars Technica was able get information from redacted documents simply by copying and pasting them into a text editor.
According to Ars, Facebook spokeswoman Katy Dormer has communicated to it saying that Chrysler/Fiat and the other companies—besides Nissan and Royal Bank of Canada — listed in this court document are listed incorrectly, and that Six4Three’s attorneys are mistaken on this point. Six4Three is a defunct startup that sued Facebook in 2015 for destroying its business in which it allowed its users to search for bikini pictures from contacts on Facebook.
The newly discovered and poorly redacted portions reveal that Facebook did experimented with the idea of giving big corporations deeper access to Facebook’s data if they spent large sums of money on advertising.
Ultimately, Facebook didn’t formally pursue these types of arrangements. In a statement provided to Mashable, the company’s director of developer platforms and programs, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, called the emails “misleading” and noted that Facebook has never charged developers for access to its platform.
[Top Image – abc7News.com]