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MIT Technology Review

Facebook gave more than 150 companies special access to your data

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Facebook gave over 150 companies more intrusive access to users’ data than previously admitted, exempting them from its usual privacy rules, according to the New York Times.

What’s new: Companies like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, and Yandex had special arrangements to retain access to users’ data (and data on their friends), despite platform changes in 2014 that restricted the practice. For example:

— Netflix and Spotify were able to read users’ private messages

— Microsoft had access to the names of virtually all users’ friends, without consent

— Amazon could see users’ names and contact information via their friends

Theses arrangements were all still in force in 2017, with some still in effect even now. This is all despite public statements from Facebook that it had ended this type of sharing years earlier.

Rising pressure: Another day, another Facebook scandal. Since the Cambridge Analytica affair, we’ve seen almost daily damaging revelations about Facebook’s practices (here’s a handy time line). Just two weeks ago, 250 pages’ worth of documents were released that revealed yet more malpractice.

That said, it doesn’t seem to have stopped people from joining Facebook, or led to huge numbers leaving. It’s likely that many people have already “priced in” this sort of dodgy dealing into their view of the social media giant. But it’s bound to fuel the growing calls for regulation.

Facebook has published a blog post, in which it responds to the allegations and defends its practices.