Facebook Granted Tech Companies Access to Users’ Private Messages, Personal Data
Embattled social media giant Facebook arranged for tech companies to gain access to users’ private messages, friends and contact information, according to a new report.
Fox News reports:
The arrangements are detailed in a blockbuster New York Times report based on over 270 pages of internal Facebook documents and interviews with about 50 former company employees. According to the Times, Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of almost all Facebook users’ friends without consent and gave Netflix and Spotify access to Facebook users’ private messages. The Mark Zuckerberg-led company allowed Amazon to get users’ names and contact information through their friends and permitted Yahoo to view streams of friends’ posts. Facebook also reportedly allowed Spotify, Netflix and the Royal Bank of Canada to read and delete users’ private messages and to see all participants on a thread.
Entertainment sites, automakers, and media companies were among those who benefitted from the secretive deals.
Facebook released a statement in which they argue that the companies weren’t given access to the data without users’ permission.
“To put it simply, this work was about helping people do two things. First, people could access their Facebook accounts or specific Facebook features on devices and platforms built by other companies like Apple, Amazon, Blackberry and Yahoo,” said the tech giant. “These are known as integration partners. Second, people could have more social experiences – like seeing recommendations from their Facebook friends – on other popular apps and websites, like Netflix, The New York Times, Pandora and Spotify….Still, we recognize that we’ve needed tighter management over how partners and developers can access information using our APIs. We’re already in the process of reviewing all our APIs and the partners who can access them.”
Facebook has come under fire for privacy concerns ever since it was revealed in March that the company allowed private consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to collect millions of user’s personal data.
Americans have grown increasingly suspicious of the social media company. A Reuters-Ipsos poll found that only 41 percent trust Facebook to obey privacy laws compared to “66 percent who said they trust Amazon, 62 percent who trust Google, 60 percent for Microsoft and 47 percent for Yahoo.”
A September Pew Research survey found that many Facebook users have change their “relationship” with the company.
“Just over half of Facebook users ages 18 and older (54%) say they have adjusted their privacy settings in the past 12 months, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Around four-in-ten (42%) say they have taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, while around a quarter (26%) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone. All told, some 74% of Facebook users say they have taken at least one of these three actions in the past year.”