Published On: Thu, Dec 20th, 2018

Facebook gave Apple, Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, Bing, Microsoft access to your privates messages

A bombshell report from the New York Times about Facebook’s mishandling of user data involved giving Spotify, Netflix and the Royal Bank of Canada “to read, write and delete users’ private messages, and to see all participants on a thread—privileges that appeared to go beyond what the companies needed to integrate Facebook into their systems.”

Yes, that’s right: these companies got some sort of access to your private messages.

Facebook’s VP of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong wrote in a blog post on Wednesday that though the social media giant has “been accused of disclosing people’s private messages to partners without their knowledge,” that is “not true.”

People could message their friends about what they were listening to on Spotify or watching on Netflix, share folders on Dropbox, or get receipts from money transfers through the Royal Bank of Canada app. These experiences were publicly discussed. And they were clear to users and only available when people logged into these services with Facebook. However, they were experimental and have now been shut down for nearly three years.

… In order for you to write a message to a Facebook friend from within Spotify, for instance, we needed to give Spotify “write access.” For you to be able to read messages back, we needed Spotify to have “read access.” “Delete access” meant that if you deleted a message from within Spotify, it would also delete from Facebook.

It only go more heated:

“No third party was reading your private messages, or writing messages to your friends without your permission,” Archibong said. “Many news stories imply we were shipping over private messages to partners, which is not correct.”

SHIPPING OVER is the key phrase because they just GAVE ACCESS TO and didn’t SEND anything.

This is not a surprise.

As stated by Archibong, it was “clear to users” in that lengthy policy statement we all agree to: they got your data and by using their service, they are free to do whatever they want and NOTHING is private.

Add in this from the Wall Street Journal, which describes a variety of data-sharing partnerships, some of which users were likely unaware of. They include:

  • Giving Apple access to users’ Facebook contacts and calendar entries, even if they had disabled data sharing, as part of a partnership that still exists. Apple told the Times it was unaware that it had special access, and of the data described would never leave the user’s device.
  • Giving Amazon the names and contact information of users, in a partnership that is currently being wound down. Amazon wouldn’t discuss how it used the data other than to say it had used it “appropriately.” On Twitter, Gizmodo’s Kashmir Hill speculated that Amazon may have used the data to fight review fraud.
  • Giving Bing, the Microsoft search engine, access to see names and other profile information of a user’s friends. Microsoft said it has since deleted the data. Facebook says that only user data set to “public” was accessible to Microsoft.
  • Giving Spotify, Netflix, and the Royal Bank of Canada the ability to read users’ private Facebook messages. (as noted above)

They got you.

photo/ Gerd Altmann

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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