Facebook Exposed: Internal Documents Indicate Criminal and Unlawful Data Mining Operation

A few months ago, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg weaved through a series of U.S. Congress meetings when defending his company of data-mining misdeeds. But he is back in mainstream media after reports emerged that the company committed greater crimes by mishandling private user data.

Documents from a California lawsuit -- that are in the possession of lawmakers in the United Kingdom point to the unrelenting fact that Facebook overlooked and disregarded the spirit of the law, and that such activities contributed to its success.

Internal documents reveal that Facebook used Onavo to furtively observe activities by its major business rivals such as Snapchat and WhatsApp -- both of which were, at the time, Facebook’s acquisitions targets. Onavo is a virtual private network company that was later on acquired by Facebook

U.K. lawmakers, after intensively scrutinising the documents, found out that Facebook had secretive “whitelisting agreements” with different companies. In the agreement, those companies were accorded preferential access “vast amounts of user data”.

According to Bloomberg, “Facebook Inc. wielded user data like a bargaining chip, providing access when that sharing might encourage people to spend more time on the social network -- and imposing strict limits on partners in cases where it saw a potential competitive threat, emails show.”

Except with the approval of Zuckerberg, some competitors were not authorised to use Facebook’s data and tools.

Preferential Access and Restriction to Facebook Data

Reporting for Bloomberg, Nate Lanxon and Sarah Frier wrote, “In early 2013, Twitter Inc. launched the Vine video-sharing service, which drew on a Facebook tool that let Vine users connect to their Facebook friends. Alerted to the possible competitive threat by an engineer who recommended cutting off Vine’s access to Facebook data, Zuckerberg replied succinctly: “Yup, go for it.”

Zuckerberg embraced the idea of sharing user data with third-party developers but only if it would help people stick to sharing their stories on Facebook. And in doing so, increasing Facebook’s value.

According to Natural News, “Facebook had also facilitated the propagation of a data-mining app developed by a company known as Six4Three that pored through people’s Facebook profiles and pulled out all photos of girls in bikinis.”

Unconsented Secret Global Surveys

An article published by Natural News reported that a Facebook user, “McKay was shocked to learn that Facebook had stored about two years’ worth of phone call metadata, or basic incoming and outgoing call information, from his Android phone – including names, phone numbers, and length of calls made.”

Facebook conducted Global Surveys that tracked users’ habits and data such as calls and message without the users’ consent or knowledge.

According to Natural News,a Facebook engineer who admitted that Facebook’s Android app contained the ability to “continually upload” a user’s call and SMS (text message) history, which of course wasn’t publicly revealed.”

Although the said engineer warned that from a PR perspective, it would be a risky affair, Facebook stuck to their illegal acts.


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