Facebook Drags Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon Into Latest Privacy Controversy

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According to the report, Facebook allowed Spotify, Netflix and the Royal Bank of Canada to read, write and delete users' private messages, and to see all participants on a message thread, although in Spotify's case the access was ostensibly provided to enable users to share music via Facebook's Messenger service.

Facebook has given some of the world's largest tech companies, such as Spotify, Amazon and Netflix, access to users' personal information in ways not previously disclosed, according to a report released by the New York Times (NYT).

Apple officials told ABC News they were not aware that Facebook had granted its devices any special access. The deals were made over the years, dating back to as early as 2010.

When The Times reported last summer on the partnerships with device-makers, Facebook used the term "integration partners" to describe BlackBerry, Huawei and other manufacturers that pulled Facebook data to provide social-media-style features on smartphones.

But probably the most invasive move cited in the story was Facebook's decision to let Spotify and Netflix read your private messages. "Our API provided partners with access to the person's messages in order to power this type of feature".

The investigation by The New York Times was based on hundreds of pages of internal Facebook documents and interviews with about 50 former employees of Facebook and its partners, and found the marketplace for users' data is even bigger than many consumers suspected.

It really makes you wonder if Facebook even values your personal data.

Spotify could reportedly view the messages of more than 70 million users each month.

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Earlier this year, it was revealed that 87 million users' data was accessed by the United Kingdom data firm Cambridge Analytica, without proper user consent.

The documents reviewed by the Times raise questions of whether Facebook's data-sharing agreements ran afoul of a consent decree issued by the Federal Trade Commission meant to monitor how Facebook tracks and shares data about its users. "However, we shouldn't have left the APIs in place after we shut down instant personalization".

In statements to The Times, Spotify and Netflix said they were unaware they had been granted that access.

Papamiltiadis said, however, that "we recognize that we've needed tighter management over how partners and developers can access information".

Senator Brian Schatz said the latest revelations highlight a need for tougher controls on how tech companies handle user data.

The problem for Facebook is that these stock quotes don't cut through the damage that reports like these do to public trust, because the main takeaway is that the firm says the bare minimum it can get away with and tries to wiggle out on the technicalities.

"There has been an endless barrage of how Facebook has ignored users' privacy settings, and we truly believed that in 2011 we had solved this problem", said Marc Rotenberg, head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an online privacy group that filed one of the first complaints about Facebook with federal regulators.