Facebook used more intrusive personal data sharing practices than previously disclosed, and exempted some businesses from its stated privacy rules.
The tech giant insisted that it had implemented stricter privacy protections a long time ago, but hundreds of pages of documents generated last year, obtained by the New York Times, reveal that Facebook allowed certain companies special access to data.
According to the records, Facebook had made deals that benefited more than 150 companies and allowed them improper access to user data.
These companies, comprised mostly of tech businesses, sought the data of hundreds of millions of people every month, and were still active as recently as 2017. Some deals were still in effect this year.
Spotify, Netflix, and the Royal Bank of Canada were granted special access that allowed the companies to read, write, and delete users’ private message, and view all participants that were included in a message thread, the records show.
The documents also reveal that search engine Bing was able to see the names of Facebook users’ friends without people providing consent. Amazon was able to obtain user names and contact information through their friends, and Yahoo could see what users’ friends posted as recently as this summer.
Facebook has faced a privacy scandal after it was revealed in March that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, compromised the data of millions of users and was able to build tools using Facebook data to aide Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
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