Facebook gave partner companies access to users’ private messages

Facebook gave partner companies access to users’ private messages

Facebook appears to have given certain business partners access to a lot of information about its users. In some cases it was even possible for companies to view and edit private messages sent via Messenger.

The New York Times reported this Tuesday in a new article about the largest social network in the world. Based on hundreds of pages of internal data logs, the newspaper reports that Facebook has exempted more than 150 companies from the privacy restrictions it applies to third parties. The group consists primarily of tech companies, including leading players such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix and Spotify.

Read private messages

The data shared varies from one company to another. In some cases, the data were used in a reasonably transparent manner. For example, Apple has built a feature that allows users to synchronize business from their Facebook calendar with their iPhone. But other companies were given access to more information than they should have been given.

The companies in this category are Netflix, the Royal Bank of Canada and Spotify. A moderately implemented programming interface for the application would have allowed companies to read and edit private messages when it seemed that they would not have access to them. Netflix and Spotify state that they were not aware of this and the Royal Bank of Canada denies that it had access.

More problems

This is not the only invasion of the privacy of Facebook users reported by the New York Times today. For example, the instant personalization tool has been active for longer than expected. This was launched in 2010, but taken offline in 2014 because developers were given access to too many personal data. At the same time, it appears that Microsoft continued to have access to this function until 2017 and two companies even until last summer.

Moreover, the situation is not as serious as it might appear at first sight. Many companies did have the opportunity to view a lot of data through agreements with Facebook, but did not usually use it. At the same time, it is, of course, the latest controversy surrounding the privacy policy of Mark Zuckerberg’s social network.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.