Facebook Shared Personal Information With Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, and Others

Staggering report by New York Times reporters Gabriel J.X. Dance, Michael LaForgia, and Nicholas Confessore:

The exchange was intended to benefit everyone. Pushing for explosive growth, Facebook got more users, lifting its advertising revenue. Partner companies acquired features to make their products more attractive. Facebook users connected with friends across different devices and websites. But Facebook also assumed extraordinary power over the personal information of its 2.2 billion users — control it has wielded with little transparency or outside oversight.

Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages.

The social network permitted Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, and it let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts as recently as this summer, despite public statements that it had stopped that type of sharing years earlier.

It’s tempting to file this under “Yeah, yeah, another Facebook privacy story, blah blah blah”, but this report is truly scathing, and worth a thorough read. Regulators should start thinking about breaking this company up.

And these other companies that used this data from Facebook need to answer for this. This is immoral, if not illegal, and everyone knows it.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018