SINGAPORE (Dec 31): In December, news emerged that social media giant Facebook had been playing fast and loose with its users’ data. Internal documents and emails published by the UK government show that the company considered employing the data for strategic and commercial purposes. Advertisers and partners would be sold access to the valuable information, while rivals would be kept out.

The revelations come amid hearings in the UK Parliament on the controversies that the company has been mired in — including allowing its platform to be misused to incite violence and interfere in elections. To be sure, there is nothing wrong with a company looking to monetise its biggest asset, which, in the case of Facebook, is the trove of data from its 2.27 billion users around the world. But, the company has consistently asserted that it does not sell data to advertisers or anyone, as founder Mark Zuckerberg told members of the US Congress.

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