Internal emails show Facebook Inc. considered charging companies for continued access to user data several years ago, a step that would have marked a dramatic shift away from the social-media giant’s policy of not selling that information, according to an unredacted court document viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The emails in the document also indicate that Facebook employees discussed pushing some advertisers to spend more in return for increased access to user information.
Taken together, the internal emails show the company discussing how to monetize its user data in ways that are employed by some other tech firms but that Facebook has said it doesn’t do.
At a congressional hearing in April, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said, “I can’t be clearer on this topic: We don’t sell data.”
The emails—most from about 2012 to 2014—are far from conclusive, lacking context and in some cases truncated. But they provide a window into mostly sealed court filings—which a British lawmaker has pledged to make public next week—from a lawsuit against Facebook filed by a company called Six4Three LLC.
The emails also illustrate how Facebook has long grappled with how to maximize the value of the vast amounts of data it collects without abusing the privacy of users.
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