×
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.

Popular on Variety

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

  • Richie Mehta in Macao

    Richie Mehta Advances Macao Project 'The Price of Tea'

    After winning six prizes on Friday with his “Delhi Crime” series, Canadian-Indian director Richie Mehta is again making film project “The Price of Tea,” which was previously pitched in Macau, as his top priority. Having attended the International Film Festival & Awards Macao’s project market with “Tea” in 2017, Mehta is back this year on [...]

  • Billy Magnussen Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Spinoff With Billy Magnussen's Character in the Works for Disney Plus

    Disney is developing a spinoff of its live-action “Aladdin” with Billy Magnussen reprising his Prince Anders character. The unnamed project is in early development for the studio’s recently launched Disney Plus streaming service. Disney has hired Jordan Dunn and Michael Kvamme to write a script centered on the haughty Prince Anders, one of Princess Jasmine’s [...]

  • Bernie Sanders Trump win

    Bernie Sanders Vows to Break Up Comcast, Verizon & AT&T: 'Their Greed Must End'

    Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled plans to launch publicly-funded broadband networks and break up big internet providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T Thursday. “Their greed must end,” the Sanders campaign wrote in its high-speed internet policy proposal. The campaign argued that high-speed internet access should be treated as a public utility, [...]

  • The Office

    Streaming Wars Heat Up Rerun Market as New Services Stock Up on Hits

    In a year in which more than 500 scripted series are on the air and new streaming services seem to debut nearly monthly, some of the biggest money being thrown around for content has gone to a handful of old TV shows, the kind that for years have hummed along evening television without much fuss. [...]

  • The Irishman

    'The Irishman' Nabs 17.1 Million U.S. Viewers on Netflix in First Five Days, per Nielsen

    Martin Scorsese’s mafia saga “The Irishman” was watched by 17.1 million unique Netflix viewers in the U.S. in the first five days of its streaming release, according to Nielsen estimates. By comparison, Sandra Bullock-starrer “Bird Box” scored nearly 26 million U.S. viewers in its first seven days of availability (Dec. 21-27, 2018) on Netflix, according [...]

  • Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on

    Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on Their International Plans

    It’s different strokes for different streaming folks as Amazon, HBO Max and Netflix lifted the lid on their international plans in London this week. Amazon said it’s not in the volume game and talked up a select number of hyper-local shows, while Netflix dished on plans to rev up non-English-language originals. The message from HBO [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content