Microsoft, Amazon respond to Facebook privacy concerns

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Facebook also allowed Apple to hide all indications that its devices were retrieving data from users.

"Facebook's partners don't get to ignore people's privacy settings, and it's wrong to suggest that they do", Steve Satterfield, Facebook's director of privacy and public policy, said in a statement emailed to Business Insider. That appears to be the case here, too.

In their defense, Netflix and Spotify have claimed that they were unaware of the special access.

Facebook said it shut down almost all of these partnerships over the past several months, except Apple and Amazon.

Facebook has encountered one scandal after another. But people may not have realized just what they were granting permission for.

Some companies, such as Spotify, still reportedly have access to that personal data right now; despite Facebook's previous claims that it has taken significant steps to be more transparent and give its users more control over how their data is used.

Facebook, however, said it shut down the deals - "instant personalization" - in 2014, although it admitted that some companies still had access to users' information.

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Freedom From Facebook, a group which has previously called for the tech giant to be broken up, said the newest revelations should pressure the FTC to act, Fox News reports.

All in all, the deals ultimately benefited more than 150 companies, including tech businesses, online retailers, entertainment sites, automakers and media organizations. 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. Facebook told The Times it found no evidence of abuse. The messages disclosed some partnerships and depicted a company preoccupied with growth, whose leaders sought to undermine competitors and briefly considered selling access to user data.

The news came in response to a bombshell New York Times report that detailed how numerous companies had undisclosed access to user data. This tool sent Facebook friends messages, via Messenger or Netflix, and was deactivated in 2015 after a year of operating due to a lack of popularity. But, he added, "the growth team will charge ahead and do it".

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

The social network has been under intense pressure over its practices over the past year, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a series data breaches and concerns over fake news and other content on the site. There's no evidence that Netflix used its ability to peek into people's private messages, but it sounds creepy, and Facebook whiffed on its chance to identify any open data pipelines, plug up the ones that weren't absolutely necessary, and make a full accounting to the public and Congress. The company argues that the partner companies are service providers - companies that use the data only "for and at the direction of" Facebook and function as an extension of the social network.

The matter could ultimately be decided by the FTC.