Facebook mulled charging app makers for user data

Updated: Nov 30, 2018, 16:07 IST | Agencies | San Francisco

The suit accuses Facebook of abusing its power over user data

Pic for Representation
Pic for Representation

Facebook on Wednesday said it considered charging application makers to access data at the social network. "To be clear, Facebook has never sold anyone's data," director of developer platforms and programs Konstantinos Papamiltiadis said in response to an AFP inquiry, adding, "Our APIs have always been free of charge and we have never required developers to pay for using them, either directly or by buying advertising."

The Wall Street Journal reported that internal emails indicating that Facebook mulled charging companies for access to user data were referred to in a lawsuit filed against the social network in 2015 by Six4Three, creator of a failed app called "Pikinis." The application enabled users to find Facebook pictures of people in bathing suits, taking advantage of an API feature that let apps access the data of social network users as well as their friends.

The suit accuses Facebook of abusing its power over user data. Some emails indicated Facebook employees discussed providing increased access of user information to advertisers in return for spending more money on the social network, according to the WSJ. "The documents Six4Three gathered for this baseless case are only part of the story and are presented in a way that is very misleading without additional context," Papamiltiadis said.

Facebook contended that the suit by Six4Three is aimed at compelling the social network to provide the kind of access to friends' data that was taken advantage of in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

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