"Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy whose vice president was Republican strategist Steve Bannon, gained access to data on 87 million users in ways that Facebook has said was improper but resembled a common practice at the time among app developers", the Post reports.
A United Kingdom parliamentary committee has published 250 pages worth of Facebook documents, including emails sent between CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other senior executives. "I think we leak info to developers, but I just can't think of any instances where that data has leaked from developer to developer and caused real issue for us", chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in 2012, describing nearly exactly the kind of behaviour that would lead to the Cambridge Analytica scandal years later.
A January 2013 email in the documents from Justin Osofsky, currently Facebook's vice president for global operations and media partnerships, notes that Twitter had just launched Vine, its now-discontinued short-video service, which was allowing their users to find friends via Facebook.
"Yup, go for it", Zuckerberg responded. It's suing Facebook over a change to the social network's privacy policies in 2015 that led Six4Three to shut down its app, Pikinis. App developers would be able to pay the costs directly or offset them with other transactions, like ad buys or use of Facebook's payment platform, he suggested. "We don't feel we have had straight answers from Facebook on these important issues, which is why we are releasing the documents". "We've never sold people's data".
Collins said last week that he would release the emails and that he was free under United Kingdom law to do so.
The committee's seizure of the documents, which were under seal by a court in the United States, came after the CEO of Six4Three, Theodore Kramer, was threatened with arrest while on a business trip to London if he didn't hand over the material.
But the documents also show discussions about giving special friend list access to particular companies, including Airbnb and Netflix, after it was no longer available by default to most developers.
Facebook wants the laptop to be evaluated to determine what happened in the United Kingdom, to what extent the court order was breached, and how much of its confidential information has been divulged to the committee.
In one email, dated February 4, 2015, a Facebook engineer said a feature of the Android Facebook app that would "continually upload" a user's call and SMS history would be a "high-risk thing to do from a PR perspective". It deliberately made it harder for users to be aware of this happening in order to avoid bad PR, the MP stressed.