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Facebook Allowed Some Tech Companies To Read And Delete Users’ Private Messages: NYT


Facebook Allowed Some Tech Companies To Read And Delete Users’ Private Messages: NYT



Since 2010, the tech giant has reportedly granted over 150 companies deeper access to users’ personal data than it has admitted.

Facebook Allowed Some Tech Companies To Read And Delete Users Private Messages

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress in April. The tech giant’s privacy policies have been under scrutiny for months.

Facebook reportedly gave some of the world’s largest tech companies access to users’ personal data, including allowing some firms to read and delete users’ private messages and get contact information through their friends, without users’ knowledge.

The New York Times on Tuesday detailed how Facebook, through data-sharing “business partnerships,” shared and traded user data with about 150 companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, Yahoo and the Russian search engine Yandex.

These partnerships, the oldest of which dates to 2010 and all which were active in 2017, “effectively exempted those business partners” from Facebook’s usual privacy rules, the Times reported, citing hundreds of pages of internal Facebook documents.

Microsoft’s Bing search engine, for example, was reportedly allowed to see the names of nearly all Facebook users’ friends without their consent; Spotify, Netflix and the Royal Bank of Canada were able to read, write and delete users’ private messages; and Amazon, Microsoft and Sony could obtain users’ contact information through their friends.

Yahoo and Yandex reportedly retained access to Facebook user data even after such access was supposed to be halted. And Facebook gave Apple the power to see Facebook users’ contacts and calendar entries even in cases where users had disabled data sharing.

The data of “hundreds of millions of people” were sought monthly by applications made by these Facebook business partners, according to the Times. Some of these partnerships reportedly remain in effect today.

NYT investigation: Internal Facebook records show that the company gave Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix and other tech giants far more intrusive access to your personal data than it ever disclosed https://nyti.ms/2Cmpm5q 
Responding to the Times’ report, Facebook, whose privacy policies have come under intense scrutiny in last months, said it had neither violated users privacy agreements nor a deal with the Federal Trade Commission that made it illegal for the social network to share users data without explicit consent.

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

Facebook’s primary argument was that it did not need explicit consent from users because its business partners, which it refers to as “integration partners,” were “functionally extensions of Facebook itself,” Times reporter Nick Confessore explained.
So what does Facebook say about all this? We had many long exchanges with the company, which provided a lot of useful context and information.
The key argument: Facebook doesn't need explicit consent because these partners are all functionally extensions of Facebook itself.





On the other hand, Facebook also acknowledges that these partnerships have raised user trust issues. And they are now winding all of them down.



Still, Facebook acknowledged that it’s “got work to do to regain people’s trust.”

“Protecting people’s information requires stronger teams, better technology, and clearer policies, and that’s where we’ve been focused for most of 2018,” Steve Satterfield, Facebook’s director of privacy and public policy, said in a statement, noting that partnerships “are one area of focus.”

Papamiltiadis said most of the features described in the Times’ article are “now gone.”




Facebook Allowed Some Tech Companies To Read And Delete Users’ Private Messages

Two U.S. senators have called for more federal oversight in the wake of the Times report.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) lambasted Facebook’s reported data sharing as “unacceptable” and called for Congress to pass the data privacy bill that she and Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisana introduced in April.


BREAKING: Investigation uncovered that Facebook gave companies access to private personal data - including messages & phone numbers - for hundreds of millions of users without their knowledge. Unacceptable. Congress should pass my bipartisan privacy bill with @SenJohnKennedy.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said he was angered by the report.

“It has never been more clear. We need a federal privacy law. They are never going to volunteer to do the right thing. The FTC needs to be empowered to oversee big tech,” he tweeted.

The silence from Facebook is deafening. The New York Times has a story that says that PRIVATE MESSAGES were accessible to a bank in Canada and Netflix? I’m trying to be measured and precise with my words here. But I’m a customer as well as a Senator and I’m angry in both roles.
It has never been more clear. We need a federal privacy law. They are never going to volunteer to do the right thing. The FTC needs to be empowered to oversee big tech.
An early investor of Facebook told the Times that “no one should trust Facebook until they change their business model.”

“I don’t believe it is legitimate to enter into data-sharing partnerships where there is not prior informed consent from the user,” Roger McNamee said.

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