The Latest Facebook Revelations Expose the Real Mark Zuckerberg – Vanity Fair

The Latest Facebook Revelations Expose the Real Mark Zuckerberg – Vanity Fair

Mark Zuckerberg
Petit Tesson/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock.In spite of Mark Zuckerberg’s pleas, Wednesday saw British lawmakers make good on their threat to release a trove of confidential documents pertaining to Facebook, including e-mail conversations between various employees and the C.E.O. himself.
“I believe there is considerable public interest in releasing these documents, ” Damian Collins, who chairs Britain’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee, tweeted upon their release. “They raise important questions about how Facebook treats users data, their policies for working with app developers, and how they exercise their dominant position in the social media market.” Much of what’s contained in the 250 pages of documents, most of which are dated between 2012 and 2015, has been previously reported. But taken together, the conversations are a reminder that Facebook users are, and always have been, the company’s product—and that Zuckerberg and co. have gone to great lengths to exploit them in the name of making a buck.For instance, earlier this year, some Android users were surprised to learn that Facebook had collected logs of their SMS and call histories. .

Internal e-mails show that developers were fully aware such data was sensitive, but pushed for Facebook to collect it anyway.
“This is a pretty high-risk thing to do from a P.R. perspective but it appears that the growth team will charge ahead and do it, ” one person wrote. Such data collection, others noted, wouldn’t even require informing the customer. “Based on their initial testing, ” a developer wrote in another e-mail, “it seems this would allow us to upgrade users without subjecting them to an Android permissions dialog at all.”Ultimately, Facebook used the data to improve its news-feed algorithms and its “People You May Know” feature. .

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