Facebook gave unrestricted access to users’ personal data to more than 150 companies including big names like Microsoft, Netflix, Amazon, Spotify, and Yahoo, according to a New York Times report.
While Facebook users can control what data they share with most of the thousands of apps on Facebook’s platform, some companies had access to users’ data even if they had disabled all sharing.
Citing Facebook’s internal documents from 2017, the publication revealed how the social media giant considered these companies business partners and exempted them from its privacy rules.
The report, which is also based on interviews from Facebook employees, explains how Facebook gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read users’ private messages and let Amazon access usernames as well as contact information through friends.
Netflix and Spotify have claimed that they were unaware of the special access.
On the other hand, Facebook allowed Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, to collect the names of “virtually all Facebook users’ friends” without their consent. It also allowed Yahoo to access “streams of friends’ posts as recently as this summer.”
The investigation found that Facebook made deals with over 150 companies including online retailers, media organizations, automakers, and entertainment sites. While Facebook has denied sharing data anymore, the New York Times found that some of these deals were still active.
Facebook’s response is that preferential data access was with user permission, according to a report by Reuters
Facebook Inc. said it did not give some companies access to people’s data without their permission after the New York Times reported on Tuesday that the social network allowed some large technology companies greater access to user data.
“None of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people’s permission, nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC,” Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs, said in a blog post.
However, it has acknowledged again that it should have prevented third parties from being able to tap into users’ data, after publicly announcing that it had ended the privilege for security reasons, reports BBC.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Facebook has been recently embroiled in an unauthorized users’ data sharing when it was accused that it cooperated with the tech company, Cambridge Analytica, by using users’ data without their consent to help in supporting the presidential campaign of the US president, Donald Trump.
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