Facebook has allowed more than 150 companies, such as Netflix, Spotify, the Real Bank of Canada or Amazon, to access the personal data of users of the social network despite the privacy protections that had been implemented according to the demands of official organizations.
This Monday, The New York Times published an investigation in which it reported that Facebook has been sharing user data with many of its sponsors, in violation of the 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). that prohibited the social network from sharing this data without explicit permission.
The research is based on information from hundreds of pages detailing special agreements with companies that sponsor the social network obtained through the aforementioned media, and includes interviews with more than 50 former employees of both the American company and its employees.
These records show how Facebook has allowed Bing, the search engine of Microsoft, to see the names of all the friends of the users of the social network without their consent, has given Netflix and Spotify the possibility of reading private messages, has allowed Amazon to obtain the names of users and their contact information through their friends, and Yahoo to see messages from friends’ publications, among others.
The oldest agreements are from 2010, but in 2017 many remained active and even in 2018 and, according to the NYT, and have benefited more than 150 companies, which came to seek data from hundreds of millions of users per month.
In an interview, Facebook’s director of privacy and public policy, Steve Satterfield, stated that no sponsor violated the user’s privacy or the FTC agreement, since sponsorship contracts require compliance with Facebook policies by the company sponsor
After this investigation, Facebook has issued an official statement, in which it clarifies that these agreements comply with the agreement of the FTC, since none of the companies had access to such information without the user’s permission, permission obtained by registering through of the user’s Facebook account on any other platform.
For their part, some of the other companies involved, such as Amazon or Microsoft, have told the quoted media that they never used the data inappropriately, although they refused to give more details about these agreements. In a statement sent to Libertad Digital, Netflix España claims that it used the access Facebook gave it between 2014 and 2015 for a function that allowed content to be recommended to friends, but without accessing private messages.
Also published on Medium.