By now you’re probably aware that Facebook, and plenty of the other apps you refresh non-stop every day, is collecting tons of data on you. How else would they serve you those perfectly targeted ads? What you may not have known, however, is that Spotify, Netflix, and other third-parties gained access to your information courtesy of the embattled social media giant.
Facebook made the disclosure on Tuesday in a blog post written as a response to a bombshell New York Times report on the matter. Facebook officials claim, however, that they had good intentions, saying they allowed companies like Spotify, for example, to access your messages in order to enable users signed into the music streaming platform via Facebook to send and receive direct messages without having to toggle back and forth between apps.
“Did partners get access to messages? Yes. But people had to explicitly sign in to Facebook first to use a partner’s messaging feature. Take Spotify for example. After signing in to your Facebook account in Spotify’s desktop app, you could then send and receive messages without ever leaving the app. Our API provided partners with access to the person’s messages in order to power this type of feature,” Facebook’s blog post read.
Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs, said in a statement that no companies involved in the site’s data sharing initiative were done without user permission. Bet you wish you’d read those user agreements a little closer now.
“We’ve been public about these features and partnerships over the years because we wanted people to actually use them -- and many people did,” Papamiltiadis said. “They were discussed, reviewed and scrutinized by a wide variety of journalists and privacy advocates.”
Still, former Federal Trade Commission officials have said that Facebook’s newly revealed agreements likely violated regulatory requirements. To his end, Papamiltiadis admitted the social site “needed tighter management over how partners and developers can access information.
According to internal Facebook documents obtained by The Times, Spotify had access to more than 70 million Facebook users’ messages a month. They, along with Netflix and the Royal Bank of Canada (uh…?) could not only read your messages, but write new ones and even delete existing ones. Yeah, that’s totally normal and not at all terrifying…