Facebook Allowed Spotify, Netflix, Microsoft and More to access your private data



Update: We have updated the story to include official statements from companies named in this report.

A recent report has again told us how Facebook was selling our private data to some of the world’s largest technology companies without disclosing it in its usual privacy policy.

The New York Times has published an explosive report and claimed that Facebook gave major corporations access to users’ content, messages, contact information, and more data without disclosing it to users.

Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing to see the names of all Facebook users’ friends. Netflix and Spotify got an ability to read Facebook users’ private messages. Yahoo got access to streams of friends’ posts and Amazon obtained users’ names and contact information through their friends.

The Report confirms that this began back in 2010 and over 150 companies for access to personal data. Most of those deals with companies were active till 2017 and some are still reading your data.

There were three types of Facebook partnerships for giving access to user data. The first one was the integration in which Facebook built custom apps for OEMs like BlackBerry. Apple devices also had access to the contact numbers and calendar entries of people who had changed their account settings to disable all sharing. Facebook’s internal records revealed that data sharing was done with over 60 makers of smartphones, tablets and other devices.

The second partnership was to help companies in offering instant personalization feature. For example, Yelp could show you which of your friend visited the site.

The third type of partnership was giving companies read and write access to users’ Facebook messages using the API. Companies could allow users share something to a friend via Facebook Messenger.

All the companies named in the report have started giving their responses. 

Netflix issued a statement denying the access to people’s private messages.

“Over the years we have tried various ways to make Netflix more social. One example of this was a feature we launched in 2014 that enabled members to recommend TV shows and movies to their Facebook friends via Messenger or Netflix. It was never that popular so we shut the feature down in 2015. At no time did we access people’s private messages on Facebook, or ask for the ability to do so,” said Netflix.

Facebook itself posted a blog post talking about its partnerships and benefits for users. It claims that data was shared to give users a personalized experience from partners

Facebook says that most of those partnerships are now gone. It claims that they shut down instant personalization of Bing back in 2014. The partnerships with device and platform companies were also called off.

It also explained how different companies get access to different data to build many kinds of integrations for users benefit and users authorized them to access the data by allowing their apps.

It also claims that Instant personalization only involved public information and no private information was used after the program was shut down.

This report is an example of how Facebook has failed to disclose the extent of data sharing with other companies. It mishandles data and then came with excuses without stopping what is actually doing. I have already stopped trusting Facebook, and You should as well.