Menlo Park: Facebook gave about a dozen companies wide access to its 2.2 billion users’ personal data without consent, including private messages, names and contact info for friends, according to a report in The New York Times.
The revelations contradict the social media giant’s claims that it no longer allowed third party apps to access user information via friends. Revelations of Facebook’s partnerships with Netflix, Spotify, Yahoo, Microsoft and Amazon were detailed in hundreds of internal Facebook documents obtained by The Times. The report was published late Wednesday.
“Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages,” The Times alleges in its report.
“The social network permitted Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, and it let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts as recently as this summer,” the report said. “Facebook, in turn, used contact lists from the partners, including Amazon, Yahoo and the Chinese company Huawei — which has been flagged as a security threat by American intelligence officials — to gain deeper insight into people’s relationships and suggest more connections, the records show.”
Facebook shifted the focus to other companies in a statement issued Wednesday night in response to the report. “Facebook’s partners don’t get to ignore people’s privacy settings, and it’s wrong to suggest that they do. Over the years, we’ve partnered with other companies so people can use Facebook on devices and platforms that we don’t support ourselves.
Unlike a game, streaming music service, or other third-party app, which offer experiences that are independent of Facebook, these partners can only offer specific Facebook features and are unable to use information for independent purposes,” Steve Satterfield, Facebook’s director of privacy and public policy, told ABC News in a statement.