Published: Thu, December 20, 2018
Finance | By Jaime Brady

Spotify Says It Was Unaware of Personal User Data Shared by Facebook

Spotify Says It Was Unaware of Personal User Data Shared by Facebook

Facebook gave tech companies including Apple, Netflix and Amazon far more intrusive access to users' data than it has previously disclosed, an investigation has found.

The news may not be a revelation to everyone.

For some advocates, the torrent of user data flowing out of Facebook has called into question not only Facebook's compliance with the FTC agreement, but also the agency's approach to privacy regulation.

Yahoo could view real-time feeds of friends' posts for a feature that the company had ended in 2011. The company has spent the year trying to update its security and answer questions about the scandal from USA lawmakers and overseas policy makers.

In a statement published on its website on Wednesday, Facebook said its partnerships or features did not give companies access to information without people's permission.

He said: "We have to seriously challenge the claim by Facebook that they are not selling user data". But, arguably, having access to personal messages and the freedom to delete them is the worst part.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees joint hearing regarding the company's use and protection of user data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2018. Despite this feature being removed since the Cambridge Analytics scandal broke, the New York Times reports these partnership integration deals were still all active in 2017.

Although Zuck's biz has countered that all of the deals were above board, its "nothing to see here" tone fails to distinguish between different partnerships.

Facebook acknowledged the problem in a response on its newsroom page. Maybe those special deals were fine to make, met the smell test of consent from Facebook users, and complied with Facebook's 2011 agreement with the US government to never again share user information without people's explicit permission. Even Yandex claims, according to the NYT report, it didn't ask for or realize how much access Facebook had given it. Former FTC staffers quoted in the New York Times were certainly sceptical. That's good, but it doesn't absolve Facebook of blame here.

According to the report, the number of different agreements became unwieldy by 2013, so staff built a tracking tool that kept records on the special access companies had and could turn it on and off. "Our API provided partners with access to the person's messages in order to power this type of feature".

While Facebook continues to profit off of data mining, the government seems wholly unprepared to tackle the complex issue. "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". Its "instant personalization" project, while killed in 2014, had some lingering software components that partners could have used only if they discovered it.

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