Facebook user data was more accessible to big tech companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, Sony and Spotify than the social media site previously revealed, according to the New York Times.
In what adds to Facebook’s already bad year, a New York Times investigative report reveals the Mark Zuckerberg led company was complicit in violations of data privacy, all in an effort to enhance business.
The investigative piece by the American newspaper implies private data has become a premium in the digital age, and that the arrangements were set to benefit all the parties involved.
After pouring over more than 270 pages of internal documents from Facebook, and interviewing more than 60 people including the firm’s former employees as well as government officials, New York Times said, “Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from its usual privacy rules.”
Under the agreements, New York Times believes Facebook got more users thereby lifting its advertising revenue while partner companies acquired features to make their products more attractive.
“Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages,” the New York Times wrote on December 18.
The same piece read, “The social network permitted Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, and it let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts as recently as this summer, despite public statements that it had stopped that type of sharing years earlier.”
While Facebook did acknowledge mismanagement of some of the partnerships, a spokeswoman told the New York Times that the social network had found no evidence of abuse by its partners.
Tech companies Microsoft and Yahoo told the American newspaper they had used the data appropriately, but declined to reveal details.
Other firms mentioned in the report include th Royal Bank of Canada, Apple and the New York Times itself.