Delete Facebook? Companies could read users' messages, claims NYT report

Facebook has apparently been giving more access to users' personal data to other companies than it had previously led the public to believe.


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MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA — Facebook gave companies more access to users' personal data than it previously let on, according to a New York Times report.

The newspaper obtained Facebook documents they say shows that the social network granted search engines like Bing access to the names of Facebook users' friends.

Facebook also allowed companies such as Netflix, The Royal Bank of Canada and Spotify to read, write and delete their users' private messages, The New York Times reports.

Netflix says it had used the access to let users share TV shows and movie links with their friends.The streaming services says it never used the access to read private messages.

Spotify said it used the access to allow users to share music and podcasts with one another. The company also said it cannot read users' messages.

Sony, Microsoft, and Amazon acquired users' email information through their friends, reports The New York Times.

The report also says Facebook allowed Apple to hide notifications from Facebook users that showed its devices were seeking user data.Apple told the Times it was unaware that Facebook had given its devices access to such information.

The report says most of Facebook's deals with these businesses were active in 2017 and some remain active.

In a statement, Facebook said companies are not granted access to private information without their users' permission. The social network explained these companies are considered as an extension of Facebook and have to abide by people's privacy settings.

All of this appears to contradict what Zuck told lawmakers earlier this year. At a U.S. House of Representatives hearing in April Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that users "have complete control" of their information on the site.
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