Facebook considered selling user data

Facebook considered charging for access to user data

Facebook’s cache of several internal documents that have been brought into the public domain continues to shed light on its practices and ambitions.

An improperly redacted filing in a US District court from 2017, in relation to a lawsuit by a “company who printed the friends’ photos on a bikini”, has revealed some of Facebook’s plans on how to monetize the mountain of user data they have amassed. 

A creepy bikini company is causing Facebook all kinds of headaches
A creepy bikini company is causing Facebook all kinds of headaches

In 2012, around the time Facebook underwent an IPO and were trying hard to increase profitability, Facebook considered implementing a minimum spend limit for companies seeking access to their user data through Graph API.

According to emails that were discovered in the court filings, by WSJ, and idea was floated and pondered over to cut off data access to companies that did not spend over $250k a year on ads in a bid to increase the ad revenue.

While the idea was eventually not implemented but the fact that it was considered and was discussed to and fro in emails shows that it was considered a viable idea.

Facebook’s cavalier approach to user data privacy over making money has been in limelight since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and these emails just adds to that trend showing an increasingly brazen attitude towards privacy.

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