It’s been something of a wild, if not downright controversial, year for Facebook. While the company was simply content to remain a social networking behemoth far removed from controversy, the company was thrust into the spotlight this year once details surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal emerged. Since then, Facebook has continuously found itself embroiled in one privacy-related controversy after another.
The latest chapter in Facebook’s fall from grace came via a New York Times expose which alleges that Facebook gave third-party tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Netflix far more access to user data than anyone had previously imagined. In one particularly outrageous claim, the Times notes that companies like Netflix were given the ability to read private messages from Facebook users.
Responding to the expose, a Facebook spokesperson said that any information accessed by a third-party was done with user permission. What’s more, Facebook explained that “our integration partners had to get authorization from people. You would have had to sign in with your Facebook account to use the integration offered by Apple, Amazon or another integration partner.” Facebook’s full blog post addressing the NYT report can be viewed here.
While not every tech company has commented on the allegations, Netflix issued a statement indicating that it at no time read, or was even aware it had access to private messaging data from users.
“Netflix never asked for, or accessed, anyone’s private messages,” the streaming giant said in a tweet. “We’re not the type to slide into your DMs.”
In a follow-up statement, Netflix explained further:
Over the years we have tried various ways to make Netflix more social. One example of this was a feature we launched in 2014 that enabled members to recommend TV shows and movies to their Facebook friends via Messenger or Netflix. It was never that popular so we shut the feature down in 2015. At no time did we access people’s private messages on Facebook, or ask for the ability to do so.