Confidential emails sent by Facebook executives leaked online

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Communications between senior figures, including Mark Zuckerberg, shed new light on data use

Documents posted online Friday appear to be confidential internal Facebook communications that reveal new details of the company’s treatment of user data.

About 60 pages of un-redacted exhibits from a lawsuit between Facebook and Six4Three, an app developer, were posted anonymously on GitHub on Friday. They include emails between various Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and a “highly confidential” 2012 memo detailing various policy matters.

The Guardian has not been able to independently confirm the authenticity of the documents, but redacted versions of some of the exhibits have been previously published.

“Like the other documents that were cherrypicked and released in violation of a court order last year, these by design tell one side of a story and omit important context,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “As we’ve said, these selective leaks came from a lawsuit where Six4Three, the creators of an app known as Pikinis, hoped to force Facebook to share information on friends of the app’s users. These documents have been sealed by a Californian court so we’re not able to discuss them in detail.”

The new cache of emails appears to refer to what could have been a catastrophic privacy breach for Facebook: a near-miss situation in which a third-party app could have disclosed the company’s financial results ahead of schedule.

In an email thread, the former Facebook vice-president Michael Vernal refers to some kind of issue with an app, noting that it “could have been near-fatal for Facebook Platform / Login / etc”.

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