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

Posted on December 19, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Social with 11 Comments


It’s a new week, which means it’s time for another new privacy controversy for Facebook. This time around, the company has gotten itself into a data-sharing controversy, revealed by The New York Times.

The publication claims Facebook made deals with some of the world’s biggest tech giants–including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, Yahoo, and Russian search engine Yandex–that gave these companies much more power than they needed. The deals were made over the years, dating back to as early as 2010. Facebook claims most of these deals have come to an end, though some — including the ones with Apple and Amazon — are still in action.

The data-sharing deals are actually quite scary, though some of the companies involved were quick to claim that they were never aware of the excess power, or misused the data of Facebook users in any way. Apple, for example, had access to Facebook users’ contacts and calendar entries even if the user didn’t agree to let Facebook share data with third-parties. Apple claimed the company wasn’t aware of the special access at all.

Microsoft, on the other hand, had access to see the names and profile data of a Facebook user’s friends for Bing. The software giant claimed that the company has already deleted the data accessed and never used the data for advertisement purposes, with Facebook claiming the search engine only had access to user data that was “public”. Apps that allowed users to access their Facebook account also had special access on Windows Phone devices, at least according to Facebook itself.

And then there’s Amazon, which had access to see the names and contact information of users, though that partnership is apparently in the process of shutting down.

But the scariest of them all is Facebook gave some of its partners — like Spotify, Netflix, and the Royal Bank of Canada — the access to users private messages on Facebook.  The access would allow these services to read users’ private messages, write, and even delete them. Netflix was quick to respond to the report, stating that the company did not access people’s private messages on Facebook, or ever asked Facebook for the special access.

“Facebook’s partners don’t get to ignore people’s privacy settings, and it’s wrong to suggest that they do,” the company’s director of privacy told The New York Times. The company went on to emphasize the fact that it did not violate any of the users’ privacy settings, stating “none of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people’s permission, nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC.”

At this point in time, all of this is just one, big mess for Facebook. Not only will the latest controversy affect user trust, which has already been going down rapidly, but it will also affect the company’s relationship with companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon. This is not only about Facebook, but it’s also going to affect the reputation of all these companies involved, even though most have already declined to be aware of or abusing the special access given by Facebook.

It really makes you wonder if Facebook even values your personal data. If selling your personal data was bad, giving away the same data is embarrassingly disastrous.

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Comments (11)

11 responses to “Facebook Drags Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon Into Latest Privacy Controversy”

  1. Avatar


    “Facebook’s partners don’t get to ignore people’s privacy settings, and it’s wrong to suggest that they do,”

    Erm? How can reading and writing private messages not be violating privacy settings?

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    The sooner Facebook disappears, the better for everybody...

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      In reply to wright_is: YES! The negatives of Facebook, Twitter, and modern Instagram(Facebook) are being exploited almost daily. Someone should calculate the wasted productivity in $$$ that these services have cost the planet. Along with the privacy and fake information problems, this needs to fade away. I can't believe I'm going to write this but, Snapchat and it's RIGHT NOW or NEVER style seems much more healthy....although I want nothing to do with it. I have a mother who is losing the last years of her life broadcasting her views on Facebook. She actually thinks it matters. AND, we have this continuing narrative by bloggers who tell us to give away our privacy to Google in order to receive benefits that don't ADD UP from where I'm sitting....I've given my shopping habits away to Amazon and that's enough for me. Ugh!

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    So what's the fallout from this? I would think Mark and Sheryl owe somebody an explanation......it points to some corporate actions that are not being disclosed.

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

    Enough to collect it, but not enough to secure it. To be fair, I don't think Facebook is alone in that attitude.

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    Yes Facebook values your personal data its how they make money. Its why they wont tell us what all they really have on us. I would go so far as to say they may make more money on selling our data then advertising.

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    Are we surprised? No, not a bit. The reasons to drop Facebook and its services like a rock just keep piling up.

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    Tony Barrett

    Time for Facebook to go away and die.

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    I'm glad I don't use products or services from any of these companies anymore. I never created a Facebag account either.

    It's about time Big Tech is taken to task on their privacy violations. I'm not even surprised it took one of their own to point the finger at the others. Let the rats eat each other.

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    Greg Green

    I find it hard to believe that the other companies’ battalions of lawyers were unaware of this. Time to fire them all if they weren’t.

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