Facebook reportedly gave tech giants more access to users’ data than it said
Special arrangements detailed in internal Facebook documents gave Microsoft’s Bing search engine access to the names of all Facebook users’ friends without consent and allowed Netflix and Spotify to read Facebook users’ private messages, the Times reported.
Other arrangements allowed Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends and permitted Yahoo to view streams of friends’ posts as recently as this summer, the Times reported, despite Facebook’s statements that it had ended that type of data sharing.
Facebook has been under scrutiny since the revelation in March that consultancy Cambridge Analytica had misused Facebook user data in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Since then, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has testified in front of Congress and the European Parliament to answer questions about Facebook’s handling of user data.
The company has also been in the hot seat for not doing enough to prevent abuse from Russian trolls that posted misinformation and divisive content on the platform. The Russian activity was part of a coordinated campaign to interfere with the U.S. presidential election by sowing discord among voters.
Facebook acknowledged in July it entered into data-sharing agreements with dozens of tech companies, admitting it continued sharing information with 61 hardware and software makers even after it said it had discontinued the practice in May 2015. The data-sharing agreements were intended to integrate the “Facebook experience” with mobile devices, something a Facebook representative at the time called a “standard industry practice.”
The Times reported Tuesday that the records show Facebook had arrangements with more than 150 companies — mostly in the tech industry but also in the automotive and media industries — to provide access to the data of hundreds of millions of people each month.
The deals were all active in 2017, and some were still in effect this year, the Times reported.