Facebook has spent much of the past 12 months apologizing and trying to make amends for the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, and an unrelated breach, but the transgressions just keep coming. This week it was revealed that the social media giant shared users’ data with a variety of other companies.
A blockbuster report in The New York Times indicates that Facebook gave “intrusive” user data — private messages, contact info, usernames — to more than 150 companies like Netflix, Amazon, Spotify and other online retail and entertainment sites and others without consent.
The number of companies is significantly more than the 60+ firms Facebook acknowledged sharing data with over the summer.
Report: Facebook let Amazon, Spotify, Netflix view user data without their consent
The new report says indicates that a couple months after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg went before Washington lawmakers to atone and vow that his company had instituted stricter privacy protections, his social network was letting Yahoo “view streams of friends’ posts” without users’ permission.
In its bid for growth, Facebook began striking deals with the companies in 2010, sharing the personal information of hundreds of millions of users a month up until 2017, and even into this year, the Times reports.
For its part, Facebook’s director of privacy Steve Satterfield denies that the data-sharing partnerships violated users’ privacy. He said that the agreements bound the companies to Facebook’s privacy rules.
What do the revelations mean for Facebook users?
We may never know who has our data
Because the companies have not all been identified, we may never know who, because of our use of Facebook, has our personal data. None of the companies has fessed up to misusing the data, but how will we ever know?
Facebook has resorted to shady reasoning
Facebook’s main argument is that the agreement with the companies didn’t break any ethical rules because they company considered the partnerships extensions of Facebook.
Data-sharing is part of Facebook’s business
Facebook has made no secret of its aim to continue trafficking in user data. The problem is, the company appears to have been less than transparent about exactly how it has been doing that.
Here’s Clark’s new rule when it comes to giving Facebook access to other sites
Privacy pro Clark Howard has said that people have “breach fatigue” at this point and many have become lackadaisical when it comes to safeguarding themselves. “A lot of people use Facebook kind of like a master account to then go to other activities where you can sign up through Facebook. Don’t. Do That. Any. More!”
If you’re trying to access a site and you forget your login, think twice before using Facebook to log into the site or other apps.
“There’s too much risk,” Clark says. “You’re giving criminals keys to the kingdom. If they break into your Facebook, they now have access to all these other accounts of yours that you’ve signed in though Facebook…If you have made a practice of gaining access to various functions and accounts through a master Facebook account, don’t do it anymore. Discontinue it, shut down that as your method of access.”