For Amazon, Facebook allowed the company to extract names and their contact information through their friends while Yahoo was allowed to view streams of friends' posts. Companies are reported to have been able to read and delete messages, and it isn't clear if users were explicitly told what access and permissions they had. It is noteworthy that Facebook users are allowed to hide their Friends' list from not only outsiders but also from those on their list.
Revelations about Facebook's response to manipulation of the social network before and after the 2016 US presidential election, and shifting accounts about breaches of users' privacy, have battered the company's reputation and fueled frustration on Capitol Hill.
For anyone who ever sent so-called private messages over Facebook Messenger, this week's second bombshell report about the tech behemoth's privacy infractions might make you second-guess whether your Facebook messages were ever really private to begin with. The data-sharing agreements were meant to integrate the "Facebook experience" with mobile devices, something a Facebook representative at the time called a "standard industry practice". It revealed how the social media giant considered these companies business partners and exempted them from its privacy rules. Amazon, Microsoft's Bing search engine and Yahoo were also data partners.
Overall, there were some 150 third party companies that reached deals with Facebook, including automakers, entertainment sites and media organizations. "They may not be letting people take it away by the bucket-load, but they do reward companies with access to data that others are denied, if they place a high value on the business they do together".
Papamiltiadis added that "none of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people's permission", and maintained that the deals did not violate a 2012 privacy settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission. Netflix, Spotify, and the Royal Bank of Canada could read, write, and even delete private messages to help them tailor their product offerings and target customers. Despite this feature being removed since the Cambridge Analytics scandal broke, the New York Times reports these partnership integration deals were still all active in 2017.
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A nearby worker told the same outlet that the power of the explosion shattered the windows of the building he was working in. The cause of the blast was still under investigation, police said, but there were reports that it may have been a gas leak.
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In response to the Times report, Facebook's director of privacy and public policy, Steve Satterfield, said in a statement that its partners "don't get to ignore people's privacy settings".
The social network has been under intense pressure over its practices over the previous year, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a series data breaches and concerns over fake news and other content on the site.
Facebook acknowledged in July it entered into data-sharing agreements with dozens of tech companies, admitting it continued sharing information with 61 hardware and software makers even after it said it had discontinued the practice in May 2015. The agency said in March it was looking into whether Facebook engaged in unfair acts that might have violated the decree.