NYT digs deeper into Facebook's creepy data sharing excesses

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Internal Facebook records describe data-sharing deals that benefited more than 150 companies a report has found

Facebook reportedly gave tech giants access to users' private messages

This article details the partnerships Facebook has had with some of the largest tech companies in the world, and the reams of user data it provided to them.

The New York Times, which has done some illuminating reporting on Facebook recently, has dropped another stunner--this one focused on just how much personal data the social media giant gave other tech companies access to.

Another problem is the timeline - numerous deals referred to were still active in 2017, and some continued into this year.

Facebook defended its data sharing practices Wednesday after a report revealing that certain partners of the social network had access to a range of personal information about users and their friends.

Facebook said the users needed to sign in with their Facebook account to use these features offered by the likes of Apple and Amazon.

Facebook said it shut down almost all of these partnerships over the past several months, except Apple and Amazon.

The New York Times report comes after Facebook has been reeling from a series of privacy scandals
STUFFThe New York Times report comes after Facebook has been reeling from a series of privacy scandals

Earlier this year, it was revealed that 87 million users' data was accessed by the United Kingdom data firm Cambridge Analytica, without proper user consent. The companies include Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo.

"When companies repeatedly lie to Congress and the American people about what they do with our messages, location, likes and everything else, Congress has a duty to do something about it", Wyden said in a statement. Unlike a game, streaming music service, or other third-party app, which offer experiences that are independent of Facebook, these partners can only offer specific Facebook features and are unable to use information for independent purposes. And in the case of Spotify, the feature allowed users to send songs via private messages, and thus required access to Messenger.

A separate statement said that Facebook had found no evidence of abuse of data by any of its partners. Compelling features often require access to more information than people expect, and when that data-sharing is explained in layman's terms, things they were fine with suddenly become outrageous.

Moreover, it turns out that Facebook had developed a special tool that enabled turning access to private data on and off - even if the user had already disabled sharing. In all, Apple mobile phones and tablets had access to contact numbers and calendar entries of people who had maximum privacy settings. The social network said in April that data firm Cambridge Analytica may have harvested information on as many as 87 million users without their knowledge.

'We shut down instant personalisation, which powered Bing's features, in 2014 and we wound down our partnerships with device and platform companies months ago, following an announcement in April, ' the company said.

"Throughout our engagement with Facebook, we respected all user preferences", a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement.

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