Facebook reportedly gave Spotify and Netflix access to users’ private messages

Tech giants deny claims made in fresh New York Times report.

December 19, 2018
Facebook reportedly gave Spotify and Netflix access to users’ private messages The Facebook logo is displayed at the 2018 CeBIT technology trade fair on June 12, 2018 in Hanover, Germany.   Alexander Koerner/Getty

A report in today's New York Times alleges that Facebook granted Spotify and Netflix, among a number of technology companies, access to the private messages of those who linked their accounts. Both Spotify and Netflix deny the allegations, which include claims they could “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.”

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In total Facebook is accused of giving more than 150 companies access to the personal data of its users between 2010-2018. It is alleged that employees at Microsoft’s Bing search engine were able to see the names of Facebook users’ friends without consent, while Amazon could obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends.

The Times's report is based off access to hundreds of pages of internal Facebook documents plus interviews with former Facebook employees and corporate partners as well as government officials and privacy advocates.

A Spotify rep told the Times they were “unaware of the broad powers Facebook had granted them.” A tweet from the Netflix's official account also denied responsibility, with a jovial message reading: “Netflix never asked for, or accessed, anyone’s private messages. We’re not the type to slide into your DMs.”


Read the full report here.

Facebook reportedly gave Spotify and Netflix access to users’ private messages