NYT digs deeper into Facebook's creepy data sharing excesses

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Internal Facebook records describe data-sharing deals that benefited more than 150 companies a report has found

Facebook reportedly gave tech giants access to users' private messages

Netflix, Spotify, and the Royal Bank of Canada could read, write, and even delete private messages to help them tailor their product offerings and target customers.

Amazon (AMZN) got access Facebook users' names and contact information through their friends on the social network, according to the report, while Microsoft's (MSFT) search engine Bing was allowed to "see the names of virtually all Facebook users' friends without consent". Although all of the so-called FAANG stocks - an acronym that refers to Facebook, Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Netflix Inc., and Google-parent Alphabet Inc. - were volatile throughout 2018, the social network is the group's worst performer in 2018, fueled by fears of regulation over issues surrounding user data, misinformation, and privacy.

The oldest deal listed in the documents reviewed by the Times was signed in 2010. The data-sharing agreements were meant to integrate the "Facebook experience" with mobile devices, something a Facebook representative at the time called a "standard industry practice".

The New York Times report comes after Facebook has been reeling from a series of privacy scandals
STUFFThe New York Times report comes after Facebook has been reeling from a series of privacy scandals

Facebook acknowledged that it gave large tech companies access to some users' personal information, including private messages, but said it only did so with their permission. "But Netflix and the Canadian bank no longer needed access to messages because they had deactivated features that incorporated it".

Facebook maintains that none of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without "people's permission, nor did they violate the settlement with the FTC".

Following the news that Facebook has been embroiled in yet another privacy scandal, the company has released a blog post entitled 'Let's Clear Up a Few Things About Facebook's Partners'.

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Facebook said it shut down almost all of these partnerships over the past several months, except Apple and Amazon.

Late Tuesday night, the always-crafty Netflix Twitter account replied to tweet with the New York Times article. 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.

That included Yahoo!, which reportedly still had the ability to view real-time feeds of friends' posts for a feature the company had ended in 2011.

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"I don't understand how this unconsented to data harvesting can at all be justified under the consent decree". In a new report, The New York Times has published some startling revelations over how the social networking giant gave access to its users' data to over a hundred different tech and media companies. At the same time, Facebook got critical data back from its partners. It was "never that popular, so we shut the feature down in 2015", the company said.

We'll likely hear more statements like this from top brass, insisting that, yes, they can do better, but that the partnerships they forged were nonetheless kosher. Which is to say that for years Facebook hasn't cared about its users, so why are we to believe that it's going to start doing so now? While the company has employed a "sorry, won't happen again" cookie cutter response, more and more reports keep coming, revealing that Facebook isn't afraid to break the laws and exploit its users' data.

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