Facebook denies allegations published Tuesday in a New York Times report that it offered tech giants such as Amazon, Netflix and Spotify wide access to user data.
The Times investigation found that Facebook gave the companies detailed data such as friends’ list and even private messages without users’ permission.
The access was greater than had previously disclosed by Facebook as part of an effort to grow its user base and generate more advertising dollars, the Times reported.
But Facebook insisted in a statement that nothing of the kind was done without permission, USA Today reported.
Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs said: “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 the arrangements were “discussed, reviewed and scrutinized by a wide variety of journalists and privacy advocates.”
The Times, however, reported it found, among a number of examples, that Microsoft’s Bing search engine was allowed to see the names of friends of Facebook users without permission.
Netflix and Spotify, the paper said, citing “hundreds of pages of Facebook documents” and interviews, also were able to view Facebook users’ private messages.
Papamiltiadis acknowledged Facebook “needed tighter management over how partners and developers can access information.”
In a statement to USA Today, Netflix denied the claims: “At no time did we access people’s private messages on Facebook or ask for the ability to do so.”
Spotify contended there is no evidence it ever accessed any private messages.
However, in an analysis, Dave Lee, the North America technology reporter for BBC News, noted Facebook once again has acknowledged “it should have prevented third parties being able to tap into users’ data, after publicly announcing that it had ended the privilege for security reasons.”
Facebook, he wrote, continually underestimates “the extent to which this year has produced a ‘data-awakening’ among the general public, and how now is the time for the company to lay it all out on the table.”
Facebook has been under fire since the revelation that it granted access to the data of 87 million users to the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 election.
This month, British lawmakers revealed internal Facebook emails indicating the company considered ways to sell people’s data.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has denied the claims.