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"Good for the World"? Facebook emails show what really drives the website technology



The central myth of Facebook is that what's good for Facebook is good for the world. More exchanges, more friends and more connections will "make the world more open and connected" and "bring the world together," argued Mark Zuckerberg, even as his company was devoured by a scandal.

But Confidential Emails Are Released On Wednesday of the British Parliament, show the hard-nosed business calculations lurking under the Wohlfühl image projected by Zuckerberg and Facebook.

"While this may be good for the world, it's not good for us," Zuckerberg wrote in 201

2 about the possibility for developers to create applications that use data about Facebook users and their friends, but do not return any data to Facebook.

Zuckerberg's assessment – sharing was only useful if people were sharing data with their company. was endorsed by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, "I think the observation that we're trying to maximize Facebook sharing [sic] is not just a sh The world of emails is critically important.

The emails provide an unusual window into the thinking of Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives as they search for revenue streams as the industry moves from desktop to mobile computing. Executives considered charging developers to get access to user data – something that Facebook now claims is never going to be the case – and discussed other schemes to estimate the size of the business and the huge amounts of user data for revenue use. At some point, Zuckerberg wondered how Facebook could mimic financial institutions as an "information bank" whose assets were not the user's personal information but the money.

Facebook has strictly opposed the publication of the documents that it had provided to the lawyers, a former app developer, Six4Three, in the course of a lawsuit. The documents were procured and published by the DCMS Committee (DCMS) of the House of Commons despite a court order by a US judge who had sealed them.

The company condemned the publication of the "cherrypicked" documents in a blog post published Wednesday: "The set of documents by design expresses only one side of the story and leaves out important correlations." The documents were selectively leaked to some, but not to publish all of the internal discussions on Facebook at "http://en.wikipedia.org/" The time of our platform is changing, but the facts are clear: we have never sold data from people. "

  Sheryl Sandberg advocated Zuckerberg's assessment that



Sheryl Sandberg advocated Zuckerberg's assessment that "sharing" was of value only when people exchanged data with Facebook. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images

The Six4Tree complaint is based on changes Facebook made in 2014 and 2015 to restrict developers' access to user data. Previously, Facebook had granted third-party app developers broad access to user data, from birthdays and profile pictures to their friends' names to the contents of their private messages.

In a Facebook post was published on Wednesday in response to the documents In the publication Zuckerberg wrote that "the prevention of abusive apps" on the platform was "the main purpose of this major platform change". "This was the change that was needed to prevent the situation at Cambridge Analytica," he wrote. "If we had done it a year earlier, we could have completely prevented this situation."

The emails show, however, that some internal discussions were aimed at leveraging developers' hunger for user data to help Facebook's profits and Zuckerberg itself. I rejected the idea that developers could misuse or misuse user data.

"I'm generally skeptical that there are as many strategic data leaks as you think," he wrote in an e-mail in October 2012. "I think we leak to developers, but I just can not think of any cases in which this data got through from developer to developer and caused a real problem for us. "

In another email, he appeared to be aware that some developers had abused their access to data, however Focusing on how this harmed the company, not the users whose data was accessed, "If no fees are charged, that means people are overusing and misusing our APIs and wasting money on us, so I think we No program to pay for if you use too many resources, "he wrote." This should be relatively easy to achieve the goal of cost control n and earn us some money if we want to. "

This discussion of abuse comes from a long email Zuckerberg sent to senior executives at 2:54 pm on November 19, 2012, about his thoughts on the" platform business model ".

"It is important to first fully explore what we are trying to do from the platform," he wrote. "The answer I came to is that we try to allow people to share everything they want and do it on Facebook. Sometimes the best way to give users the opportunity to share is to create a special app or network for that type of content and socialize that app by including Facebook. While this may be good for the world, it's not good for us unless people share Facebook, and that content adds value to our network. I think the purpose of the platform – even the read side – is ultimately to reinforce the exchange on Facebook.

In the end, Zuckerberg hoped he would find "the right balance between omnipresence, reciprocity, and profit." [19659018] Facebook condemned the publication of the "cherrypicked" documents in a blog post published Wednesday. "src =" https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/1160acf86676c2cc429a1148bc0eb72e08bfe8cb/0_114_3544_2126/master/3544.jpg?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=b3b47f21fe502ce31ef6354e22413753 "/>



Facebook condemned the Publishing the "cherrypicked" documents in a blog post published Wednesday. Photo: NurPhoto / NurPhoto on Getty Images

In another e-mail sent to a handful of senior executives on October 7, 2012, Zuckerberg explained his inspiration for another idea: "Encouraging developers to pay Facebook a fee," he said Magnitude of ~ 0.10 USD / user per year "access data to users.

"I have recently read many books on finance and banking, and although the idea of ​​an information bank is not identical with the financial bank, the comparison points to some interesting things," he wrote. "For example, banks charge you interest as long as you have no money. Instead of letting devs pay a one-time fee for retrieving data, we could effectively do so by dictating that devs keep their data up-to-date and update their data every month. "

He continued," Another idea requires different developers to charge different rates Things The whole banking industry is based on people getting different rates.

While it would be hardly noticeable to a normal CEO to justify the effort to make a profit, Facebook and Zuckerberg have long claimed that they are more likely to be guided by a sense of mission thirsting for profit. In his post-Wednesday Zuckerberg formulated this winning motive as a struggle for survival and wrote: "Running a development platform is expensive and we need to support it."

However, in an e-mail sent on October 26, 2012, the former executive of Facebook and Zuversberg confidant Sam Lessin provided another opportunity for his then boss to reconcile the company's values ​​with his lower needs.

"Our mission is to make the world more open and connected," wrote Lessin. "And we can only do that with the best people and the best infrastructure – that requires us to earn a lot of money / be very profitable."


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