Facebook's Casual Data Approach Backfires -- Big Time

Years before the Cambridge Analytica scandal rocked Facebook to the core, Mark Zuckerberg was waxing casual about the threat of serious data breaches.

“I think we leak info to developers, but I just can’t think of any instances where that data has leaked from developer to developer and caused a real issue for us,” Zuckerberg wrote in an internal email back in late 2012.

The exchange can be found in hundreds of internal documents released by UK lawmakers on Wednesday.

The UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee recently obtained the documents from app developer Six4Three -- despite them being under seal in a U.S. court case.

In light of the Cambridge Analytic controversy -- which ultimately affected an estimated 87 million Facebook users -- Zuckerberg’s casual position on security is now striking. 

“I’m generally sceptical [sic] that there is as much data leak strategic risk as you think,” Zuckerberg told an employee via email in 2012. “I agree there is clear risk on the advertiser side, but I haven’t figured out how that connects to the rest of the platform.”

The internal documents also depict Zuckerberg as more than willing to deprive developers of Facebook data when it suited the company.

In early 2013, for example, Zuckerberg was informed that Vine was in a position to scale its business via Facebook. Asked if he thought Facebook should cut off the Twitter app, Zuckerberg said: “Yup, go for it.”

In response to the documents being published, Facebook is insisting it paints a misleading picture of its executives and events as they actually occurred.

“Select quotes from these documents have been released to suggest things that are false,” the company said in an official statement.

In a blog post published on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said the ideahe ever took Facebook’s security for granted is ridiculous. “We’ve focused on preventing abusive apps for years,” he said.

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