Economy

Facebook gave more than 150 companies special access to your data

Facebook gave more than 150 companies special access to your data

Among over 150 deals struck between the social media giant and tech firms, Facebook gave the streaming services Netflix and Spotify the ability to read users' private messages, leaked documents suggest. That access was granted to allow the companies to build their own unique implementations of a private message feature, allowing users to, for instance, send a Facebook message linking to a song.

CNN has not independently viewed the internal documents obtained by the Times.

Microsoft, on the other hand, had access to see the names and profile data of a Facebook user's friends for Bing.

The company's partnerships with Amazon and Apple (AAPL) are still continuing today. "At no time did we access people's private messages on Facebook, or ask for the ability to do so".

Most developers have to build Facebook integration through a standardised set of tools, limiting what they can do with user data, and providing an easier route for users to assess requests, approve or reject them, and periodically check which third-parties have access to their information. It also doesn't explain why many partner applications don't appear in a Facebook user's app settings menu, as the outlet claims.

Papamiltiadis said in response that these features - many of which are now defunct and no longer in use - were used for purposes including receiving Facebook notifications while in an active browsing session; integration for song recommendations, to create search results based on the "public information" friends have shared, and the upload of contacts from Facebook to email services.

"We know we've got work to do to regain people's trust", Satterfield continued. It also allowed Yahoo to access "streams of friends' posts as recently as this summer".

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Damian Collins, the chair of the UK's DCMS committee, said the news "shows that Facebook offers preferential access to user data to some of its major corporate partners".

A Facebook spokesperson said the company had found "no evidence of abuse by its partners", but there's no evidence they were actually looking. "We're already in the process of reviewing all our APIs and the partners who can access them". "We use information only in accordance with our privacy policy".

Facebook responded to the NYT's report and said that they do not "ignore people's privacy settings".

"Throughout our engagement with Facebook, we respected all user preferences", Microsoft said in a statement. Apple claimed the company wasn't aware of the special access at all.

The feature "was never that popular so we shut the feature down in 2015", Netflix said in a statement.

Facebook's effort to share its data with partners in the tech industry was created to help everyone involved: Facebook picked up more users by tools such as its "People You May Know" feature, while other companies benefitted by rolling out products based on the data it was able to access. Any shared data would remain on the devices and be available to anyone other than the users, according to Apple.

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