Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) reportedly disclosed user private data with major companies such as Spotify (NYSE: SPOT), Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and even more, according to a report by The New York Times.
In the document obtained by the Times, it was said that Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing engine to search users and see the names of users’ friends without consent. Facebook also gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read users’ private messages. Facebook allowed Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, while it allowed Yahoo to see a user’s friends’ posts.
Spotify and Netflix said in statements to the Times that they were unaware they had access to the private information.
According to the documents, as well as interviews with about 50 former Facebook employees, it was made aware that the Company allowed certain companies to access user data despite having protections in place.
However, Facebook’s Director of Privacy and Public Policy, Steve Satterfield said that none of the partnerships with other companies violated users’ privacy or the F.T.C. agreement. Contracts required the companies to abide by Facebook policies, Satterfield added.
According to a Facebook spokeswoman, Facebook found no evidence of abuse by its partners. However, Facebook did say that it had mismanaged some of its partnerships and allowed certain companies to obtain access to data despite them shutting down features that required the information.
“Facebook’s partners don’t get to ignore people’s privacy settings, and it’s wrong to suggest that they do,” Steve Satterfield, Facebook’s director of privacy and public policy, said in a statement emailed to Business Insider. “Over the years, we’ve partnered with other companies so people can use Facebook on devices and platforms that we don’t support ourselves. 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.”
Facebook has encountered multiple breaches this year that caused concern over the social media giant. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Facebook shared over 87 million users’ data, which was accessed by the UK data firm Cambridge Analytica without consent.
Then, just last week, it was reported that a bug may have exposed millions of Facebook users’ private photos to third party apps.
Facebook has had a shaky year after the data concerns. Among FAANG stocks, Facebook shares have experienced the worst decline compared to the others. Facebook shares have fallen by 19% this year, while Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares have declined by 1.6% this year. Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) shares are all up this year, with Netflix leading, as shares have rose by 46.2% this year.