A United Kingdom parliamentary committee released a series of documents today which reveal, among other things, that Facebook knew triggering an Android permissions dialog during an app update that would collect SMS and call logs would lead to "bad PR" and allegedly attempted to circumvent the process in order to make it hard for Android users to discover the new behavior.
Facebook granted some tech firms full access to its user data as it sought to cultivate lucrative business ties with them - long after it said it was dropping the practice because of privacy concerns, according to an explosive cache of secret documents and emails. MP Damian Collins, who chairs Parliament's Digital, Culture Media and Sports Committee, said the probe established several key issues.
Facebook had objected to their release.
Collins and his committee have been investigating Facebook and its relationship with Cambridge Analytica, the highly controversial and supposedly defunct political consulting group that helped Donald Trump win the White House. "It is not clear that there was any user consent for this, nor how Facebook decided which companies should be whitelisted or not".
In response, Facebook has said that the documents had been presented in a "very misleading manner" and required additional context.
The documents show an exchange between Zuckerberg and senior executive Justin Osofsky in 2013, in which they chose to stop giving friends' data access to Vine on the day that social media rival Twitter launched the video-sharing service.
The data-hungry mammoth wanted to know how people used their mobile phones, so it changed Facebook's mobile app to enable it to harvest more information from devices it was installed on.
"We stand by the platform changes we made in 2015 to stop a person from sharing their friends' data with developers", said Facebook's spokeswoman.
"We've prepared reactive PR", Osofsky wrote, to which Zuckerberg replied, "Yup, go for it".
"Like any business, we had many of internal conversations about the various ways we could build a sustainable business model for our platform", Facebook said in an emailed statement.
Facebook could not immediately be reached for comment. With regards to Onavo, Facebook argues "we've always been clear when people download Onavo about the information that is collected and how it is used, including by Facebook".