Did you know that since 2010, our very favorite social media platform Facebook has given access of our personal data to more than 150 companies? Well, while the dust refuses to settle on the tech giant’s breach of privacy issue, there have been companies that were given the right to read and delete private messages of users. Surprised? Read on.
Is your data safe? Think again
The New York Times revealed how our data has been compromised due to Facebook’s data-sharing business partnerships. Those who have enjoyed access include top giants such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, and even Yandex- the Russian search engine. While the partnerships may have been cemented at different times, they were active in 2017 and were exempted from the privacy rules.
NYT investigation: Internal Facebook records show that the company gave Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix and other tech giants far more intrusive access to your personal data than it ever disclosed https://t.co/lT3yQpodkw— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 19, 2018
Different companies have enjoyed access to a varying extent. For example, Microsoft’s search engine Bing could access names of friends of virtually all Facebook users without their consent. While Netflix, Spotify and the Royal Bank of Canada went a step further and could even read, write and delete their private messages.
Others such as Amazon, Microsoft and Sony could get contact information of users through their friends. Despite the said attempts of prohibiting such access, Yahoo and Yandex reportedly retained access. And that’s not all; Apple was given the power to see users’ contacts as well as their calendar entries. This was, irrespective of whether their data sharing was disabled or not.
So like it or not- these companies sought hundreds of millions of people on a monthly basis by way of applications. The biggest concern is that some of these partnerships are active even today.
The shadow of doubt looms
Facebook is already receiving a lot of flak for such breaches and its privacy policies are being heavily scrutinized. But Facebook refuses to accept such claims. Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs, revealed in a blog post saying:
None of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people’s permission, nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC.Konstantinos Papamiltiadis
As Times reporter Nick Confessore points out through his tweet, Facebook believes that an explicit consent of users is not really necessary since its business partners which they prefer to call as ‘integration partners’ are in fact ‘functionally extensions of Facebook itself’.
The Times report definitely raises some very valid questions and two U.S. Senators have already expressed the need for a federal privacy law. What’s ironic is that despite such arguments, Facebook admits that it’s got work to do to regain people’s trust.
Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of product partnerships, said in a blog post,
In the past day, we’ve been accused of disclosing people’s private messages to partners without their knowledge. That’s not true — and we wanted to provide more facts about our messaging partnerships.Ime Archibong, V.P. Product Partnerships at Facebook
Netflix, Spotify cry foul
Meanwhile, Netflix and Spotify cry foul. Netflix released a statement saying, “At no time did we access people’s private messages on Facebook, or ask for the ability to do so.” Spotify on the other hand said something similar. “We have no evidence that Spotify ever accessed users’ private Facebook messages,” it said.
With their stock falling by more than 7 percent after the article got published, Facebook indeed has a lot of work to do. Or else, it will continue to lose its ‘friends’.