A New York Times investigation has foundthat Facebook gave Netflix, Spotify and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) the ability to read, write and delete users’ private messages. The Times investigation, based on hundreds of pages of internal Facebook documents, also found that Facebook gave 150 partners more access to user data than previously disclosed. Microsoft, Sony and Amazon, for example, could obtain the contact information of their users’ friends.
The Times’ new report caps off a very bad year for Facebook when it comes to public trust. Let’s just recap a few of the bigger stories, shall we?
March: The Observer reveals that Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of millions of Facebook users without their consent for political purposes. It is also revealed that Facebook had been keeping records of Android users’ phone calls and texts.
April: It was revealed that Facebook was in secret talks with hospitals to get them to share patients’ private medical data.
September: Hackers gained access to around 30m Facebook accounts.
November: Facebook acknowledges it didn’t do enough to stop its platform being as a tool to incite genocidal violence in Myanmar. A New York Times report reveals the company hired a PR firm to try and discredit critics by claiming they were agents of George Soros.
December: Facebook admitted it exposed private photos from 68 million users to apps that weren’t authorized to view your photos. (You can check if you were affected via this Facebook link.)