Facebook spends US$22.6 million keeping Zuckerberg safe - Cloud - Networking - Security

18 April, 2019, 05:14 | Author: Regina Silva
  • JD Lasica  Flickr

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg allegedly leveraged users' personal data to help friends of the Silicon Valley giant and punish the company's competitors, NBC News reported Tuesday, citing leaked documents.

According to the filings, Facebook compensated Zuckerberg $22,554,542 total in 2018, $2,597,320 of which was for Zuckerberg's travel on a private jet. Instead, user privacy was how Facebook positioned the change to soften the blow for developers who benefitted from that data, and get some positive PR in the process. Facebook told NBC News that the documents were authentic but misleading.

An anonymous source leaked the documents to investigative journalist Duncan Campbell, who shared the cache with NBC News, Computer Weekly, and Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The large chunk of 4,000 pages of leaked Facebook documents - including emails, webchats, presentations, spreadsheets and meeting summaries - reportedly stem from a lawsuit filed by a small start-up Six4Three, which sued Facebook in 2015 over the giant's plans to cut off access for Six4Three to some types of user data.

However, nobody from Facebook has thus far provided any additional evidence to support the the claim of "cherry-picking". These reports have prompted Facebook to admit that it did, at the time, consider selling user data, which it ultimately decided against.

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The day before, ABC carried a story about how the leading Democrat firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) said she had stopped using Facebook because of health risks associated with social media like "increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, and escapism". Facebook executives including Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg honed in on their relationships with developers as a way to make money and boost engagement.

Facebook, for its part, has told its shareholders that they should vote down the proposals.

The existing arrangement, where developers weren't required to share their data back with Facebook, might be "good for the world" but it's not "good for us", Zuckerberg wrote in the email.

"We believe our board of directors is functioning effectively under its current structure, and that the current structure provides appropriate oversight protections", the company said. One called the preferential treatment of friends versus competitors as "sort of unethical". The new direction apparently confused the company's software engineers. Many businesses, like Six4Three, had built their apps on the promise of access to Facebook's API.

And all the while, Facebook was making loud noises about its attempts to protect and secure user privacy. They mostly spoke about privacy in terms of how to spin the narrative.

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