United Kingdom lawmakers just released a trove of Facebook emails

Facebook's seized files published by MPs

"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 released a series of documents today which reveal, among other things, that Facebook knew triggering an Android permissions dialog during an app update that would collect SMS and call logs would lead to "bad PR" and allegedly attempted to circumvent the process in order to make it hard for Android users to discover the new behavior.

Facebook touted itself as championing privacy four years ago when it chose to restrict outsider developers' access to data about its users' friends.

In one email, dated January 23 2013, a Facebook engineer contacted Zuckerberg to say that rival Twitter Inc. had launched its Vine video-sharing tool, which users could connect to Facebook to find their friends there.

"We've prepared reactive PR", Osofsky wrote, to which Zuckerberg replied, "Yup, go for it".

That approach allegedly included using Onavo, an Israeli analytics company Facebook bought in 2013, to conduct global surveys of mobile app usage to determine whether or not Facebook should be threatened by rivals or consider acquiring them - as it did in the case of Instagram and WhatsApp. He explained his rationale for releasing the emails in a tweet: "We don't feel we have had straight answers from Facebook on these important issues, which is why we are releasing the documents". Damien Geradin, a Brussels-based lawyer at Euclid Law, said the refusal of access to Vine data could be seen as a "potential refusal to deal" with rivals, "but you would need to show that Facebook" is essential to users and it is "not clear it is". The files were seized by United Kingdom authorities just over a week ago when Ted Kramer, founder of USA software firm Six4Three, was in London.

Zuckerberg in 2012 underestimated how much giving developers access to data could be a risk.

Westminster has published secret documents which indicate Facebook collected records of its users' phone calls and text messages.

Facebook's director of developer platforms and programs Konstantinos Papamiltiadis told AFP last week that the company "has never sold anyone's data".

"What has happened here is unconscionable", California Superior Court Judge V. Raymond Swope said to Kramer and his attorneys during the hearing.

Facebook touted itself as championing privacy four years ago when it chose to restrict outsider developers' access to data about its users' friends.

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