Dating app Badoo and Lyft were among the other companies "whitelisted" for access to data about users' friends, the documents showed. Facebook is being sued by an app developer. This information was used to suss out potential companies to acquire.
Facebook also used Onavo (an Israeli analytics company it bought in 2013) to observe users' overall usage of its mobile apps without their approval or knowledge in order to figure out how many users had downloaded apps and how often they used them.
The internal emails also detail discussions regarding the collection of call and text logs from Android users. According to Bloomberg, the California courts sealed the emails, but the United Kingdom compelled the Six4Three founder to hand over a laptop containing the emails, which were acquired during discovery, when the founder visited London.
In 2014, the company identified about 100 apps as being either "Mark's friends" or "Sheryl's friends" and also tracked how many apps were spending money on Facebook ads, according to the documents, referring to Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
U.K. releases Facebook emails about data privacy
Facebook collected data in March from Android phone users to find ways to improve Facebook's algorithms and find new contacts for users to find in the "People You May Know" category. Motherboard calls the almost 250 pages of documents "devastating" for Facebook, but the company says in a statement that the documents were gathered as part of a "baseless case" and "are only part of the story and are presented in a way that is very misleading without additional context".
"We stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends' data with developers", the company said in a statement. "We've never sold people's data". The good news about full reciprocity [where apps let users share their activity back to Facebook] is that for bigger social companies we might otherwise be anxious about, if they're enabling their users to push all of their social content back into Facebook then we're probably fine with them.
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.
How did they get them? "It's not at all clear to me here that we have a model that will actually make us the revenue we want at scale".