'A trove of leaked documents has revealed years of internal deliberations over user data at Facebook, indicating privacy was used as public justification for business decisions designed to gain 'leverage' against competition, according to reports.
Some 4,000 pages of highly sensitive Facebook internal documents, largely spanning 2011 to 2015, were leaked to a British journalist who shared them with several outlets, according to NBC News.
The documents, which include emails, webchats, presentations, spreadsheets and meeting summaries, appear to show Facebook's internal deliberations on whether to sell user data to third party app developers.
It appears the Facebook ultimately decided against selling user data, instead opting to dole it out to app developers who were considered personal 'friends' of CEO Mark Zuckerberg or those who spend money on Facebook ads or shared their own valuable data.
While one employee fretted that the company's approach to user data was 'unethical', Doug Purdy, Facebook's director of product, described Zuckerberg as a 'master of leverage,' according to the documents.
Facebook denied that it gave any preferential treatment based on advertising spending or personal relationships with executives.
The company did not immediately respond to a message from DailyMail.com. Facebook has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing.
Facebook said that the leaked documents had been 'cherrypicked' and presented a warped view of its deliberations.
'The set of documents, by design, tells only one side of the story and omits important context,' the company said in a December blog post when the first documents in the leaked batch emerged.
The documents mostly describe internal deliberations leading up to a major change that Facebook made in 2014 and 2015, when it severely restricted access to user data from third party apps.
At the time, and following the 2018 Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal, Facebook publicly portrayed the policy change as motivated by deep concern for user privacy.'
Read more: Facebook 'gave access to user data to friends of Mark Zuckerberg and favored companies who spent big on advertising', leaked documents reveal
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