2018 has been a train wreck for Facebook so far, and the situation doesn’t seem to change even in the ending months of the year. Some internal documents of Facebook seized by British lawmakers have revealed that the social media giant had plans to sell user data between 2012 and 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal.
During these two years, Facebook failed to generate income after its IPO and considered earning money by trading users’ data. In an e-mail by an unnamed Facebook employee, it was mentioned that Facebook must shut down data access to all the apps that “don’t spend… at least $250k a year to maintain access to the data.”
E-mails in the confiscated documents indicate that the company headed by Zuckerberg was trying to monetize its users’ data and the employees discussed forcing advertisers to pay more money in return for more user data.
However, Mark Zuckerberg denied the claims of selling data and in April this year during his hearing before Congress, Zuckerberg said, “I can’t be clearer on this topic: We don’t sell data.”
We do not know the context of the emails and some of the emails are even truncated therefore we cannot reach a conclusion on the basis of it. However, it is clear that Facebook, at one point, sought to sell users’ data to maintain revenue after the company went public in 2012.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that Facebook considered selling user data and supported her statements by saying, “We were trying to figure out how to build a sustainable business. We had a lot of internal conversations about how we could do this.”
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We can expect more clarity on the issue after the confiscated documents will be released by British lawmakers this week.