Facebook Admits It Let Other Tech Companies Read Users’ Private Messages

Facebook came  under fire again this week for its data and privacy practices, this time because of a report in The New York Times detailing how the company allegedly provided access to users’ private messages to other tech giants like Netflix and Spotify.

According to the report, Facebook provided this access to about 150 companies in all. Some were even allowed to read, edit or delete users’ messages, and others could obtain contact information for users’ friends, all allegedly without their consent. However, Facebook says that by giving companies this information, it did not break any rules.

“To be clear: 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 (Federal Trade Commission),” Facebook wrote in a blog post.

Facebook’s main argument, according to the Times, is that it did not need explicit user consent to do this, because its business partners are “extensions of Facebook itself.” However, that argument isn’t likely to go far with either the public or lawmakers; several U.S. senators have already expressed concern and called for regulation following the release of the report. Much as Facebook wants to explain this problem away, it’s likely to join the long list of scandals already plaguing the company.

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