The Sift Here’s what we’re Sifting today

Facebook defends data sharing

by Kiley Crossland
Posted 12/19/18, 11:27 am

Facebook allowed more than 150 companies to read users’ private messages and see the names of their friends, according to a New York Times report published on Tuesday. The newspaper detailed special data-sharing arrangements between Facebook and companies like Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon dating back to 2010. The deals, some of which were still in place as recently as 2017, let the companies read, write, and delete private messages, see the names of people on a private message thread, and see all of a Facebook user’s friends. The Times said it obtained more than 270 pages of Facebook documents and interviewed more than 60 people for the story.

Facebook responded to the report on Tuesday, saying none of the partnerships gave companies access to information without user permission. They said users explicitly give sharing consent to companies when they sign into their Facebook account on other apps, and that the deals allow Facebook users to integrate their accounts with other platforms and create a more social experience on popular apps. But they also said most of the features detailed in the Times story are now gone due to security changes: “We’ve taken a number of steps this year to limit developers’ access to people’s Facebook information, and as part of that ongoing effort, we’re in the midst of reviewing all our [integrated apps] and the partners who can access them.”

Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Kiley Crossland

Kiley reports on marriage, family, and sexuality for WORLD Digital. Follow Kiley on Twitter @KileyCrossland.

Read more from this writer


  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Wed, 12/19/2018 01:58 pm

    Observe Facebook's rhetorical sleight:  users "explicitly [my emphasis] give sharing consent" when they log into other companies' apps using Facebook.  But no third-party app has ever explicitly informed me (except in the most nebulous terms possible) that I would be granting this consent!  Thus we abet an unethical buyer-beware business philosophy.

  • JerryM
    Posted: Wed, 12/19/2018 04:15 pm

    I agree.  This is no doubt an "explicit" opt-out policy that is presented in obscure "no-need-to-worry" terms.

  • Dave Stravers's picture
    Dave Stravers
    Posted: Wed, 12/19/2018 03:36 pm

    So long as Facebook continues to bribe the members of Congress with six-figure gifts, nothing will be done about this.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Thu, 12/20/2018 10:24 pm

    Glad I’ve never signed up for Facebook 

  •  Peter Allen's picture
    Peter Allen
    Posted: Tue, 12/25/2018 04:49 pm

    “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”  LK 8:17.  We of all people should understand there is no privacy.  Nowhere.  Of coarse we don’t want to be bothered by targeted adds, etc.  But know we are all being watched by a heavenly host.