The company is accused of sharing user data with “friends” while withholding it from competitors
A report from NBC on Tuesday revealed that Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg had considered selling user data to app developers, even as it publicly highlighted its efforts to protect user privacy. This report was filed by reporters NBC News’s Olivia Solon and Cyrus Farivar, the report was based on restricted documents. These documents show that the company came up with several ways to require third-party applications to compensate Facebook for access to its users’ data, including direct payment, advertising spending and data-sharing arrangements. While it normal for large companies to share some of their user information, Facebook has information that is a lot more sensitive.
The problem here is that Facebook used its user data in order to exploit maximum profit and not as a tool to be protected. The breach of privacy here has the potential to come under some heavy regulatory action. Post the 2012 discussions, Zuckerberg implied that he was open to as many as a hundred deals with developers, partly as a means to identify the “real market value” of the company’s user data. Facebook told NBC News that it did not give “preferential treatment to developers or partners because of their ad spending or relationship with executives.” This is appalling not because data sharing is an anomaly because a company with the magnitude of Facebook has done so with the intention of profiting from it. This is surely going to trouble the reputation of a company for whom user data privacy is already a rocky issue.