Will Mark Zuckerberg’s travails ever end? Facebook’s CEO now stands accused of using the data from millions of Facebook’s users as a bargaining chip in a attempt to boost Facebook’s power while hurting competitors. It also reportedly revealed users' private data to his friends. 

And all the while, Facebook was making loud noises about its attempts to protect and secure user privacy.

Facebook’s tactics was revealed in more than 4,000 pages of leaked company documents from 2011 to 2015 obtained and made public by NBC News. The documents paint a disturbing picture of a Facebook management team concerned only with the bottom line despite public claims of championing user privacy.

The documents also show that changes to its policies Facebook made to “protect privacy” were really a PR stunt intended to benefit its developers who benefitted from its data, while earning some positive media coverage in the process.

Facebook hasn’t questioned the authenticity of the documents obtained by NBC News.

The documents include emails, webchats, spreadsheets, presentations, and meeting summaries. Taken together, these internal Facebook documents show Zuckerberg, his board of directors and management team looking for ways to use Facebook’s trove of user data as leverage over companies it partnered with. User data they trafficked in included information about friends, relationships and photos.

The documents show Facebook rewarding friends and favored companies by giving them access to user data. Facebook also assiduously denied any such access to rival companies or apps.

Facebook gave Amazon extended access to user data because the latter was spending money on Facebook advertising. Amazon also partnered with Facebook on the launch of its Fire smartphone. In another case, Facebook discussed denying access to user data for a messaging app that had grown too popular it was viewed as a competitor.

All the while, said the documents, Facebook was crafting a strategy to publicly proclaim these moves as a way of protecting user privacy.

Facebook also came up with ways to require third-party apps to compensate Facebook for access to its users’ data. Compensation included direct payment, advertising spending and data-sharing arrangements.

The documents show Facebook ultimately decided not to sell the data directly but opted to dole it out to app developers considered personal “friends” of Zuckerberg, or who spent money on Facebook and shared their own user data.

Despite these transgressions, Facebook hasn’t been accused of breaking the law.

The documents in the possession of NBC News were anonymously leaked to British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell, who shared them with NBC News, Computer Weekly and Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Experts said the documents appear to be the same ones obtained by the British Parliament in late 2018 as part of an investigation into Facebook.