How Facebook Sold Your Data and Fooled Government Regulators (Until Now)
How did Facebook violate your privacy? As described in the U.K. Parliament’s report, Facebook intentionally architected its Platform specifically to violate user privacy in numerous ways. Chief among them, Facebook deliberately chose not to pass privacy settings through its most popular platform APIs, both public APIs and secret private APIs. According to the Report, Facebook made this decision to ignore your privacy controls to make it easier for companies to accept a “gangster-like” proposal: “buy our ads or give us all your data, or we’ll shut down your API access, thereby breaking your products and ruining your business.”
Facebook’s entire business today has been built with these mafia-like tactics and, remarkably, Zuckerberg and Sandberg successfully covered it up by blaming other companies for their own rampant privacy violations. As set forth in the Report, this is what led to the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the ability of nefarious foreign actors to obtain Facebook data in droves.
In order to secretly sell your data, Facebook created two “separate” but secretly connected agreements. One agreement was for commercial customers to purchase advertising and the other was for them to access your data through APIs, known as a “Private Extended API Addendum,” a copy of which is in Parliament’s report. For years Facebook claimed the APIs were offered on equal and non-discriminatory terms to all companies, just like APIs offered by Apple to build iPhone apps. Once a company relied on these APIs based on Facebook’s promises, Facebook then effectively put a gun to its head and forced it to deliver data or money for ads.
Facebook made sure the company had agreed to purchase a volume of ads before entering into the Private Extended API Addendum. If Zuck or one of his lieutenants didn’t think the amount of the ad spend was enough, they would hold out on the data access agreement until they ponied up more cash.
Zuck ordered his lieutenants to do this with thousands of companies from 2012 to present. By pretending these two agreements had nothing to do with one another, Zuck built an empire selling your data without privacy controls while still being able to blatantly deceive Congress that “Facebook doesn’t sell your data”. The U.K. Parliament concluded this deceptive scheme violates privacy and anti-competition laws, as well as FTC regulations. How can this be allowed?
The FTC clearly has jurisdiction as Facebook has signed a Consent Decree. But, has the FTC ordered Facebook to turn over all its ad purchasing agreements and all its Private Extended API Addenda? Has the FTC checked these agreements against one another to determine the extent to which data access and advertising spend were correlated? Has the FTC subpoenaed the emails of any of the companies who entered into Private Extended API Agreements or Addenda with Facebook as part of its ongoing investigation? If not, can the FTC in good faith conclude its investigation without having done this? What about the DOJ, SEC, and state Attorneys General? Have any of these enforcement agencies subpoenaed and compared these agreements to bring to light perhaps the most malicious pay-to-play scheme in history? Our work at Six4Three is designed to make sure all these governmental agencies take action.
We know many of the companies who entered into these deals. If you were involved in one of these deals, we recommend you get in front of this and come forward now. Share your story about how Facebook put you in an impossible position before you become the bad guy, too. If you have any information, contact us at email@example.com.
We at SIX4THREE are David; Facebook is Goliath. We’ve spent pennies compared to the resources they’ve spent to discredit us. They have put our families through immense distress. We’ve been tracked, followed, intimidated, harassed, and threatened with litigation and with millions of dollars in potential judgments against us — just for doing the right thing and holding Facebook accountable and for complying with the U.K.’s Orders which Facebook did not ever challenge in the U.K. Courts nor in Parliament even though a member there works for them! Zuck himself has ducked and refused to visit London cause of the worry of being subpoenaed.
But we are still here. We are still fighting. And we always will. It’s too important. And our work through the pending litigation, through our reports to government officials, and through the press is not over and it will not be over until real reform happens inside of Facebook.
We have self-funded and haven’t asked for money for four years. But we need your help now. Please donate whatever you can today. Go to gofundme.com/helpsix4three and donate $5 or $5000 — whatever you can spare. All funds will be used exclusively to fight Facebook in court, in legislative efforts and in public educational campaigns.
The resistance needs to be organized and it needs to be mainstream. We are up against one of the richest companies on the planet carrying out the greatest surveillance apparatus in human history, one that has effectively strangled the free press, the small business community, your privacy, and the very stability of democratic government. If that’s not obvious to you yet, wake up! There is no such thing as sitting on the sidelines. If you aren’t in, you are doing exactly what they hope you will do — nothing! Get involved now. Our future depends on it.
Thank you for your continued support.