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Facebook believed they were offering companies access to user data


Facebook's internal emails are reported to indicate that the social media giant is considering charging companies for access to user data.

James Martin / CNET

Facebook was thinking about charging access to user data a few years ago, Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday and cited Facebook's internal emails in an unprocessed court document.

Facebook's employees also discussed with encouraging advertisers to spend more money on the service in exchange for better access to user information, as allegedly shown in the e-mail in the document. Monetization of user data would be a dramatic face of a long-standing policy of the political giant of social media that it does not sell that information.

During his testimony before April's Congress about the company's practice of handling data in connection with Cambridge Analytica ScandalFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, "I can not be clearer on this topic, we do not sell data, it's not the way advertising works."

Facebook said that the conversations included in emails were years ago, and that the company eventually decided not to charge access to user data. The company also said that the documents are presented misleadingly without context.

"The evidence was enclosed by the California court, so we can not refute any false allegations," said Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, director of development platforms and Facebook programs. "We are sticking to the changes we made to the platform we made in 2015 to stop sharing the data of our friends with developers, and any short-term extensions made during this transition platform should prevent changes from experiencing user experience."

"To be clear, Facebook never sold anyone," said Konstantinos. "Our APIs were always free and we never asked developers to pay for their use, either directly or by buying an ad."

Emails are reportedly cached internal Facebook documents arrested recently a representative of the British Parliament. The captured documents were obtained during the litigation process filed by the non-violent manufacturer of Six4Three applications claiming Facebook to create privacy gaps that allowed Cambridge Analytica to obtain user data from Facebook.

These documents are supposed to include private internal communication between Facebook executives, including Zuckerberg, on the Facebook business model. They also contain an email from a Facebook engineer who warns elderly people in the company against a possible Russian intervention on the platform as early as 2014, a member of Parliament said on Tuesday.

Damian Collins, chairman of Parliament's Committee on Digital, Cultural, Media and Sport, said during a meeting Tuesday The UK government could issue documents "in the next week."

First Published November 28, 16:27. PT.
Update, 5:40 am: Adds a comment on Facebook.

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