A document with hundreds of emails from Facebook shows the movements of the social network to stifle the competition The United Kingdom has published a long document of 250 pages with emails belonging to the top of Facebook and several companies that work closely with the social network. In the emails, Facebook talks about the competition, access to its API for or even the possibility of selling data to other companies.
The document is long and contains emails between people like Mark Zuckerberg, heads of different platforms and other companies such as the service of cars with driver Lyft. But the highlight is that several reports are confirmed on how Facebook has used privileged data to buy, clone or drown competition.
Drowning the competition
One of the first that is shown in the document is how Justin Osofsky presents Mark Zuckerberg with the arrival in 2013 of Vine, the application that allowed to upload videos of 6 seconds and that Twitter acquired before its launch.
Mark Zuckerberg gives the go-ahead for Facebook to block Vine from its platform by being the competition. Vine used a very common tool among developers that allows connecting the Facebook account in search of mutual friends.
They used VPN Onavo to know which apps to buy or copy
In 2014 Facebook bought WhatsApp for about 19,000 million dollars. A purchase like this is not made from day to morning and there are many market studies involved. What we now know is that Facebook used data from the Onavo VPN to know that its users used WhatsApp a lot.
Facebook used for months user data using a VPN, which presumes a high level of security and privacy, to realize that WhatsApp was not only a Facebook rival but a possible competitor that could end your business.
The data from Onavo show the level of use of social networks of its users on mobile, showing how Facebook lost users and Instagram gained more interest.
The most important thing is that according to Onavo’s data, it showed how WhatsApp would be a real problem for the expansion of Facebook Messenger on mobile phones.
By studying the data provided by Onavo, a free VPN that did not clearly tell its users that it would be spied on, Facebook was able to know how people used social networks at a level of detail that gave them the advantage to buy from their competitors, or in the case of not accepting a deal, clone them, as happened with Snapchat.
Facebook bought Onavo in October 2013 for 100 million dollars.
Facebook knew that storing calls and messages would be a bomb
A function in the Facebook Messenger application for Android, which was later implemented in iOS, allowed capturing the information of phone calls and text messages. Facebook did not say clearly what this function did and for that reason, it was recently another one of the bombings on privacy to which they have been faced.
During the preparation to launch this function, the responsible ones knew of the risk that supposed. In one of the emails – highly confidential – it is said that despite the risk, the team went ahead to add it to the application.
Facebook’s response: “context is missing”
The social network of Mark Zuckerberg has published an ad indicating point by point information that they believe is important to have more context.
In addition to Facebook’s press army material, Mark Zuckerberg has published a note personally explaining some of the points. In none of the cases are these emails denied, but they give their vision of what happened, most of them between 2013 and 2015.
For example, about expelling applications that can compete against their services, Facebook clarifies that they have decided to eliminate this outdated practice so that their platform stays as open as possible.