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Emails Show Facebook Considered Charging Companies for User Data Access: Report

Facebook reportedly considered charging companies for user data access several years ago, according to internal emails referenced in recent court documents, The Wall Street Journal reports. The emails, most of them from 2012 to 2014, appear in a lawsuit filed by software developer Six4Three over the social media giant's data policies. While CEO Mark Zuckerberg insisted at a congressional hearing earlier this year that the company does not sell user data, the emails reportedly show that employees discussed “pushing some advertisers to spend more in return for increased access to user information” years earlier. One employee reportedly suggested in an email that Facebook should shut down data access “in one-go to all apps that don’t spend… at least $250k a year to maintain access to the data.” In another 2013 email, an employee wrote that Facebook would either “have a disappointing conversation with Amazon or a strategic conversation in the context of the broader deal discussions” after it became evident that Amazon would be receiving less data from them. In still another email exchange, Facebook employees “offered to extend the data access” of the Tinder app owned by the Match Group. (Spokespeople for both Facebook and the match group, which owns Tinder and is owned by IAC, The Daily Beast's parent company, say that offer was never consummated ). “We were trying to figure out how to build a sustainable business,” a Facebook spokeswoman said of the emails the Journal reported on.