Facebook tries to explain Netflix and Spotify's messaging access

20 December, 2018, 09:29 | Author: Kevin Carter
  • GettyFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg left and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings right

In this case, a report from The New York Times revealed the social media company gave an extreme amount of access to certain partner companies, over and above what users might have expected.

Spotify, on the other hand, admits they had access to read messages and even previously had the ability to read messages when people shared Spotify songs on Facebook Messenger but has since disabled that function. The messages disclosed some partnerships and depicted a company preoccupied with growth, whose leaders sought to undermine competitors and briefly considered selling access to user data.

Despite this, user numbers don't appear to have suffered as a result; although public trust in the company has been negatively affected.

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) conceded Wednesday that it did grant other major tech firms access to your private messages - but only with your consent. This is all despite public statements from Facebook that it had ended this type of sharing years earlier.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company had found "no evidence of abuse by its partners", but there's no evidence they were actually looking.

The social network said it shut down almost all of these partnerships over the past several months, except those with Apple and Amazon, which people continue to find useful and which are covered by active contracts.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees joint hearing regarding the company's use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. Some, the Times notes, were still in effect this year.

Numerous third-party data agreements described in the Times article appeared to have been relatively unused or dormant, and the news organization didn't identify examples of Facebook's partners siphoning mass amounts of information about Facebook users or otherwise abusing their access.

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The New York Times reported Tuesday that Amazon.com, Inc.

Moreover, if media companies like The Times are potentially being granted special access to things like private Facebook messages, are reporters privy to this kind of information?

"Throughout our engagement with Facebook, we respected all user preferences", a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement.

More troubling to observers, however, was any sense that Facebook gave third parties deep access to user data without properly informing users and gaining permission.

As Facebook has battled one crisis after another, the company's critics, including some former advisers and employees, have singled out the data-sharing as cause for concern.

In all, the report says, more than 150 companies benefited from Facebook's data-sharing practices.

For some advocates, the torrent of user data flowing out of Facebook has called into question not only Facebook's compliance with the FTC agreement, but also the agency's approach to privacy regulation.

"The flagrancy with which Facebook has flouted its consent decree shows it doesn't take the agency seriously", the group said in a statement.



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