UPDATED with Netflix response, stock price. Facebook has suffered its latest privacy setback after it emerged that the social media platform gave tech companies including Netflix, Spotify and Microsoft intrusive access to personal data.
The New York Times published a 4,000 word expose revealing that it discovered the access through hundreds of pages of internal Facebook documents.
The access allegedly allowed Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook subscribers’ personal messages, gave Microsoft’s Bing search engine the ability to see the names of all Facebook users’ friends, permitted Amazon to obtain contact information and let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts.
Steve Satterfield, Facebook’s director of privacy and public policy, told the NYT that none of the partnerships violated users’ privacy or its agreement with the Federal Trade Commission. But he admitted, “We know we’ve got work to do to regain people’s trust,” Mr. Satterfield said. “Protecting people’s information requires stronger teams, better technology and clearer policies, and that’s where we’ve been focused for most of 2018.”
In a statement provided to Deadline, Netflix said it had launched a recommendation feature on Facebook in 2014 but it didn’t catch on and was shut down in 2015. “Over the years we have tried various ways to make Netflix more social,” the company said. “At no time did we access people’s private messages on Facebook, or ask for the ability to do so.”
This is the latest charge in a series of controversies regarding privacy for the social media site. It comes after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and, more recently, the news that the British Parliament seized a raft of internal Facebook documents from Six4Three, a company that operates a bikini app via the social media service.
Last month, politicians from nine countries have slammed Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to appear in front of a British parliamentary hearing to answer questions on fake news and misinformation.
Zuckerberg was empty chaired by Britain’s Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport’s Select Committee in a session in the Houses of Parliament, although 24 official representatives from nine countries, including the UK and Canada, grilled Richard Allan, Vice President of Policy Solutions at the social media giant for close to three hours.
Despite the latest wave of apologies and recrimination, Facebook stock has slipped only a fraction of a point thus far today at $143.30.