Facebook let Spotify and Netflix snoop on your private messages


Major companies such as Microsoft's Bing search engine, Amazon and Yahoo were among those with access with the sensitive information, which included allowing Amazon to get contact information through friends' connections. Companies are reported to have been able to read and delete messages, and it isn't clear if users were explicitly told what access and permissions they had.

Senator Brian Schatz said the latest revelations highlight a need for tougher controls on how tech companies handle user data.

Despite this, user numbers don't appear to have suffered as a result; although public trust in the company has been negatively affected. A new inquiry was opened earlier this year into Facebook's compliance with the FTC decree, and the company is also being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department.

With most of the partnerships, Satterfield said, the FTC agreement did not require the social network to secure users' consent before sharing data because Facebook considered the partners extensions of itself - service providers that allowed users to interact with their Facebook friends. While most were technology companies, there were also automakers and media organizations.

In October, Facebook said Yandex was not an integration partner. The companies include Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo. In addition to reviewing the documents, The Times interviewed over 60 former employees of Facebook and its partners, former government officials and privacy advocates, according to the report. A Spotify spokesperson further explained to Salon in an email that it now can not read users' private Facebook inbox messages.

Another problem is the timeline - numerous deals referred to were still active in 2017, and some continued into this year.

To make matters worse for Facebook, which has faced constant scrutiny lately for its data sharing policies, alleged political biases and privacy concerns of its users, Karl Racine, the Attorney General of Washington D.C., announced a lawsuit against Facebook for "failing to protect millions of users' data".

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In March, Facebook took out full page apology ads in several prominent newspapers.

"At no time did we access people's private messages on Facebook or ask for the ability to do so", Netflix said in an emailed statement.

In all, the report says, more than 150 companies benefited from Facebook's data-sharing practices. "Facebook rewards these firms with data privileges that other organisations do not enjoy".

"We shouldn't have left the [application program interfaces] in place after we shut down instant personalization", wrote Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, the company's director of developer platforms and programs.

Collins' parliamentary committee had previously revealed similar arrangements after obtaining internal Facebook emails that showed the company considering special access for partners including Tinder and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Rising pressure: Another day, another Facebook scandal.