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Facebook once considered selling user data directly

Despite the increasing amount of hot water Facebook finds itself in, CEO Mark Zuckerberg stands by his statement that “we do not sell data.” While this is considered true with the evidence so far, internal documents pulled by the UK Parliament suggest that frim did, in fact, consider the move between 2012 and 2014.

Even though Facebook has reduced API access following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, poorly redacted internal emails recovered by the British government, via the Wall Street Journal, once suggested the firm actively prohibits companies from getting their hands on such data unless they spent “$250k a year to maintain access.” This came around the same time Facebook held its initial public offering (IPO) as a means to combat its then-dwindling revenue.

At the time, user data could be accessed by third-party app makers, alongside the data of their friends. This is subsequently what led to This Is Your Digital Life harvesting mass amounts of data before selling 87 million accounts worth to Cambridge Analytica. Facebook plugged this exploit in 2015, but suggestions of paid access persisted.

As far as current evidence suggests, Facebook never went through with the plans, emphasising to the Wall Street Journal that it was just “trying to figure out how to build a sustainable business. We had a lot of internal conversations about how we could do this.” Still, this isn’t going to help growing concern surrounding the social network.

KitGuru Says: A company that contemplates the idea of selling out its user base is certainly one to keep an eye on, if current rumblings around the social network hadn’t suggested that already. So far, I know many that have jumped ship in favour of other platforms and it seems as though this trend isn’t bucking any time soon.

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