The company's "Switcharoo Plan," a nickname bestowed by a Facebook employee in an email, was revealed in thousands of pages of sealed court records described Wednesday in a report by Reuters and posted online by NBC News.
The documents portray company executives plotting how to convince the public they were serious about improving privacy protections even while their real goal was to snuff out competition.
The leaked records include internal Facebook emails and memos that were filed under seal in state court in California as part of a lawsuit brought by an aggrieved Silicon Valley app developer. Six4Three LLC's app allowed users to find photos of their Facebook friends in bathing suits.
"These old documents have been taken out of context by someone with an agenda against Facebook, and have been distributed publicly with a total disregard for US law," a Facebook representative said Wednesday.