Facebook accused of sharing user data with over 150 companies

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A New York Times investigation says private messages and details about users’ friends were made available to third parties – and that some of the data-sharing deals were still active this year.

The entrance sign to Facebook headquarters is seen in Menlo Park, California, on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.
The entrance sign to Facebook headquarters is seen in Menlo Park, California, on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. (Reuters)

In yet another privacy scandal, Facebook has been accused of sharing access to people’s data with over 150 companies, including Amazon, Apple and Netflix.

New York Times investigation says private messages and details about users’ friends were made available to third parties – and that some of the data-sharing deals were still active this year.

Facebook has defended its behavior, saying it never granted access to personal information without people’s permission.

The latest revelations follow a series of scandals including the Cambridge Analytica data harvest during the 2016 US election.

The paper reported that Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without their consent, citing documents from 2017.

“None of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people’s permission, nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC,” Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs, said in a blog post.

Facebook also gave companies like Netflix and Spotify the ability to read users’ private messages and permitted Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, the New York Times said.

Facebook said what it did was to help users access their Facebook accounts or specific features on devices and platforms built by other companies like Apple, Amazon, Blackberry and Yahoo, known as integration partners.

The company said these partners got access to messages but users “had to explicitly sign in to Facebook first” before using a partner’s messaging feature.

Facebook said it shut down nearly all of these partnerships over the past several months, except Apple and Amazon.

Earlier this month, a British lawmaker released documents that revealed Facebook offered some companies, including Netflix and Airbnb, access to data about users’ friends it did not make available to most other apps in 2015.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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