×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Facebook Reportedly Gave Tech Companies Access to User Data Beyond Disclosures

Facebook gave tech companies like Amazon, Spotify, and Microsoft more access to user data than the company had previously disclosed.

According to a New York Times report, the special arrangements were discovered in internal Facebook documents that track partnerships and were acquired by the Times.

The report states that Facebook gave Netflix and Spotify access to users’ private messages in order to share tracks and shows via Messenger, and allowed Bing to view users’ friends lists without the users’ consent. Facebook also let Amazon learn users’ names and contact information through friends and Yahoo utilized the platform to view streams of friends’ posts as recently as this summer.

The deals between the companies were designed to benefit both parties: Facebook would gain more users and become more embedded across websites while the outside companies would be able to tailor their products more effectively. Overall, deals were struck with more than 150 companies, mostly online retailers, entertainment companies, or other tech businesses.

According to Facebook director of privacy and public policy Steve Satterfield, none of the partnerships violated users’ privacy or FTC regulations, and the companies were required to abide by Facebook policies. Per the agreements, Facebook considered the outside companies’ access an enhancement of its own features, and as a result did not have to seek additional permissions from users since the access was governed by Facebook’s terms of use.

Another spokeswoman told the Times that Facebook did not find evidence of abuse by the companies. Facebook did admit it had not been vigilant about managing the partnerships, and that some companies were able to continue accessing data despite the features that required it falling out of use.

The news brings further scrutiny to the question of whether Facebook abides by the privacy control it claims to give its users. The tech giant has been rocked by a series of privacy scandals over recent months, but has maintained that users’ have complete control over how their data is used by the company.

More Digital

  • Cory-Haik-Vice

    Vice Media Hires Cory Haik, Former Mic Publisher, as Chief Digital Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vice Media has recruited Cory Haik, former publisher of digital news start-up Mic, as chief digital officer to lead the youth-culture company’s global internet businesses. Haik will be based at Vice’s Brooklyn headquarters and report to CEO Nancy Dubuc. She most recently worked at Mic, which last fall laid off virtually its entire staff before [...]

  • Snapchat logos

    Porn Studio Starts Building X-Rated Snapchat Lenses, Encourages Users to Do the Same

    Adult entertainment company Naughty America wants to use augmented reality to get the word out about its paid services. The company has begun to make Snapchat lenses featuring some of its models, and is teaching its audience to do the same. Naughty America shared three such lenses on its website (link not safe for work) [...]

  • New, Likely Cheaper Galaxy Home Speaker

    Samsung Is Getting Ready to Introduce Second Smart Speaker

    Samsung still isn’t selling its Galaxy Home smart speaker, but the company may be getting ready to introduce a second model soon: An FCC filing for an “AI speaker” suggests that the new model, like the original Galaxy Home, will be dual-branded, featuring both Samsung’s own brand name as well as that of its audio [...]

  • Streaming Placeholder

    TikTok Owner Preparing Streaming Service to Rival Spotify (Report)

    ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of the TikTok video app, is developing a paid streaming music service aimed at the same emerging markets that Spotify and Apple are seeking to explore, according to a report in Bloomberg. The app could be introduced as early as autumn, according to the report, which adds that the company has [...]

  • VidCon-Now-Stacey-Kelly

    VidCon Launches First Original Series to Promote Creators Year-Round

    VidCon brings together thousands of fervent fans at its annual conventions, who flock to the events to see their favorite YouTubers and other digital celebs in the flesh. Now the Viacom-owned division is trying to keep the excitement burning during the VidCon off-season, too. This week VidCon is launching its first foray into original content [...]

  • Stranger Things

    Coca-Cola Will Revive New Coke in Alliance With Netflix, 'Stranger Things'

    A rush of TV watchers to streaming video has prompted Coca-Cola to test an interesting pour. Coca-Cola will bring New Coke back to market for a brief time, all part of a partnership with Netflix, which has featured Coke in its cult-favorite series “Stranger Things.” The third season of the series, set in 1985, will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content