Facebook has been under a lot of heat this year, and though the year is about to end, Facebook’s problems has yet to come to an end.
Recently The New York Times did a thorough investigation and discovered that Facebook has been sharing users’ personal data with other companies including companies like Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and so on. More than 150 companies were getting access to hundreds of millions of Facebook users, and Facebook’s large partners are getting more access than the Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that was involved in Facebook’s biggest crisis in March this year.
To be more specific, companies like Netflix and Spotify gets to read Facebook users’ private messages, Microsoft Bing search engine can access the names of all the Facebook users’ friends without their permission and Amazon can access users’ names and contact information through their friends.
Facebook’s director of privacy and public policy, Steve Satterfield said that the partnerships are actually not violating users’ privacy or even the Federal Trade Commission as the partner companies will still need to obey Facebook policies. That being said, Facebook is also doing nothing to ensure that the partner companies are to protect the information that is being shared, and some companies still get access to users’ data despite that the users disabled all sharing.
Facebook also responded in their newsroom that the partner companies get the read/write/delete messaging access so that users can actually send messages to other Facebook users through partnering apps, and despite that the companies get the access, there are no third parties who are reading the users’ messages. The company also say that the features that allow access to users’ data is to offer more social experiences on partnering apps, and not to misuse the data.
However, Facebook did admit that they shouldn’t have left the users’ data from the instant personalisation feature accessible to their partners, even though the feature was already shut down. The company also said that they’ve taken steps to limit developers’ access to users’ information and reviewing all their APIs and ensuring only the rightful partners can access the data.
It seems like 2018 might not be such a great year for Facebook after all.