Facebook, the most used social media in the world with an active user of 2.27 billion is again making into the headlines. The report released by the New York Times on December 18, said that Facebook has allowed some of the world’s renowned tech companies such as Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify to access user’s personal information without users’ consent.
The New York Times in their report said that internal Facebook documents had provided insights into the network’s “data-sharing agreements”, unveiling that the data market is bigger than what most of the consumer suspected.
Several big companies expanded with the help of Facebook
The report mentioned that Facebook permitted Microsoft through its Bing search engine to “virtually view names of all friends of a Facebook user without their permission”. Apart from Microsoft, major streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix were provided access to private messages of users. These streaming platforms were able to read, delete, compose, and check the participants present on a thread.
Amazon, Microsoft, and Sony were able to procure users’ email addresses through their friends. A statement earlier said that Yahoo was unable to view streams of friends’ posts. However, the New York Times in their report stated that Yahoo continued to do so.
Near around 150 organisations were a part of the agreements made between tech companies and platforms. The article explained that Facebook expanded by attracting more users, and fostering them to interact with these platforms. In this process, the companies acquired features which enhanced their products.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2012 asked Facebook to strengthen their privacy safeguards.
Facebook resorted to blog to explain the issue
Facebook on December 19, with the help of a blog, explained its reason behind allowing Netflix, Royal Bank of Canada, and Spotify to read, delete, and write a private user’s message. Facebook in the blog said that it let these platforms the permission to access users’ private messages to help users connect other users on these platforms. After the New York Times report, the stock of Facebook fell by more than 7 per cent on December 19. Understanding the weight of the situation, Facebook chose to resort to a blog to explain the issue.
In this year, Facebook has received sharp criticism from its users, judicial bodies, and various media houses for mishandling users’ data and mistreating their privacy. The company’s share has plummeted down by more than 25 per cent this year. It is nearly 40 per cent below since a peak in July.
Not the first time
On June 6, Facebook confirmed that it has a data-sharing agreement with Chinese companies, including Huawei which was previously flagged as a security threat by the US intelligence, as reported by BBC.
It was then reported that Facebook was winding them down. These deals helped Facebook to reach an enormous number of users, while the device makers offered popular features of the social network to the users.
British analytical firm, Cambridge Analytica (CA) was said to have illegally harvested profiles of 50 million users to create marketing strategies and political campaigns. The analysis of Cambridge Analytica reportedly helped US President Donald Trump win the elections. It is also said to have helped the pro-Brexit campaign in the UK. In the post in March this year, Zuckerberg admitted to the breach of trust in the Cambridge Analytica (CA) issue. He also gave an account of the company’s next course of action in protecting users data and providing a secure platform.