Daily Trends Now
Daily Trends Now

Facebook Reportedly Gave Tech Companies Access to User Data Beyond Disclosures

Facebook Reportedly Gave Tech Companies Access to User Data Beyond Disclosures

Even Yandex claims, according to the NYT report, it didn't ask for or realize how much access Facebook had given it.

The report specifically alleges that multiple businesses were allowed to access the private Facebook messages of Canadian users.

A separate statement said that Facebook had found no evidence of abuse of data by any of its partners. The Facebook data pipeline included, the Times said, Netflix and Spotify being able to read people's private Facebook messages and letting Amazon obtain Facebook users' names and contact information through their online friends.

Some have speculated Facebook may opt to roll out a paid tier of service exempting users from data sharing.

'Still, we recognise that we've needed tighter management over how partners and developers can access information using our APIs (application programming interface).

While Facebook has time and again said that most of these partnerships ended years ago after the release of iOS and Android when it didn't need to offer these "integrations" to different companies to tie in different features, internal documents suggest that several companies have continued to have this access. Amazon got users' friends names and contacts and as late as this summer, Yahoo could see users' friends' posts.

This was an exemption issued to Facebook by the FTC to allow it to do things such as process card transactions - whether the company's assessment will stand up to scrutiny remains to be seen.

The social network said in April that data firm Cambridge Analytica may have harvested information on as many as 87 million users without their knowledge.

The Times report raises concern about Facebook's 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, which states the company can not share user data "without explicit permission". Apps that allowed users to access their Facebook account also had special access on Windows Phone devices, at least according to Facebook itself.

On Tuesday, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Director of Developer Platforms and Programs said in a blog post on Facebook that recently exposed data-sharing practices were all about "helping people", and said nothing was done without a measure of user consent. She added that the Ukrainian allegations "have no merit".

Revelations about Facebook's response to manipulation of the social network before and after the 2016 USA presidential election, and shifting accounts about breaches of users' privacy, have battered the company's reputation and fueled frustration on Capitol Hill.

Netflix has said that it stopped taking advantage of its ability to recommend content to members' Facebook friends in 2015 as the service had not been popular. But assuming there's even a grain of truth to them, it implies Facebook preemptively handed a metaphorical keyring to large partner companies without even being asked to do so, in the interests of expanding its own network of information.

THE FACTS: In this case, the company says that its "integration partners" - such as Amazon, BlackBerry or Microsoft - had to get authorization from people to turn on these features.


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