Leaked internal docs show that Facebook shuts down access to user data to kill competitors, but claims it is protecting users

7,000 pages of leaked documents from the Six4Three lawsuit against Facebook reveal how the company provides or restricts access to user data as part of its overall strategy to crush potential competitors who rely on its platform, and deliberately manufactures cynical explanations about "protecting users" to justify the actions.

Within the trove are extensive internal communications that reveal Facebook giving special user-data access to Amazon based on Amazon's massive advertising spending, then choking off data to a company called Messageme because its products had become too successful and represented a potential competitive threat to Facebook. Facebook execs candidly discussed how they could justify anticompetitive action against Messageme by saying that they were protecting their users' privacy.

Six4Three made a disgusting Facebook app that let shitty men search for photos of their female contacts in bikinis, then sued Facebook for kicking them off the platform. When the company's CEO visited the UK, Parliament tried to summon him along with sealed court documents, and when he refused, they sent Parliament's sergeant-at-arms to drag him — and the documents — from his hotel to Westminster. Some of the documents were published immediately, even as redacted US versions of the documents were un-redacted thanks to laughable redaction errors made by Six4Three (errors so basic that many speculated that they were deliberate).

4,000 pages of of Six4Three/Facebook leaks first came to light last April when Olivia Solon and Cyrus Farivar reported on them for NBC. Now, the team is back with another 7,000 pages.

This trove comprises approximately 7,000 pages in total, of which about 4,000 are internal Facebook communications such as emails, web chats, notes, presentations and spreadsheets, primarily from 2011 to 2015. About 1,200 pages are marked as "highly confidential."

Taken together, they show how Zuckerberg, along with his board and management team, found ways to tap Facebook users' data — including information about friends, relationships and photos — as leverage over the companies it partnered with. In some cases, Facebook would reward partners by giving them preferential access to certain types of user data while denying the same access to rival companies.

For example, Facebook gave Amazon special access to user data because it was spending money on Facebook advertising. In another case the messaging app MessageMe was cut off from access to data because it had grown too popular and could compete with Facebook.

All the while, Facebook planned to publicly frame these moves as a way to protect user privacy, the documents show.

Leaked documents show Facebook leveraged user data to fight rivals and help friends [Olivia Solon and Cyrus Farivar/NBC]