Our partners got access to users’ data with their permission: Facebook

San Francisco: Facebook on Wednesday said it did not give large tech companies access to peoples data without their permission as its integration partners like Netflix or Spotify “had to get authorisation from people”.

Reacting to a New York Times report that on Tuesday said the social networking platform allowed large technology companies and popular apps access to its users’ information, Facebook said “none of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people’s permission, nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission)”.

In a blog post, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Director of Developer Platforms and Programmes, said: “You would have had to sign in with your Facebook account to use the integration offered by Apple, Amazon or another integration partner”.

Did integrated partners get access to messages?

“Yes. But people had to explicitly sign in to Facebook first to use a partner’s messaging feature.

“Take Spotify for example. After signing in to your Facebook account in Spotify’s desktop app, you could then send and receive messages without ever leaving the app.

“Our API provided partners with access to the person’s messages in order to power this type of feature,” wrote Papamiltiadis.

Instant personalisation is a product Facebook offered with select partners from 2010 to 2014 that involved public information on Facebook.

With instant personalisation, people could link their Facebook account with other services like Rotten Tomatoes or Yelp to see public information their friends shared.

According to Facebook, it has shut down instant personalisation, which powered Microsoft Bing’s features in 2014 and it wound down its partnerships with device and platform companies months ago.

Barring Apple and Amazon, the company has ended partnerships with others.

“Instant personalisation only involved public information, and we have no evidence that data was used or misused after the programme was shut down.

“Still, we recognise that we’ve needed tighter management over how partners and developers can access information using our APIs. We’re already in the process of reviewing all our APIs and the partners who can access them,” explained the company.

Facebook has had integration partnerships over the years with Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and other companies, which were overseen by our partnerships and product teams.

“Our integration partners had to get authorisation from people. You would have had to sign in with your Facebook account to use the integration offered by Apple, Amazon or another integration partner,” said the social networking platform.

“Over the years we have tried various ways to make Netflix more social. One example of this was a feature we launched in 2014 that enabled members to recommend TV shows and movies to their Facebook friends via Messenger or Netflix. It was never that popular so we shut the feature down in 2015. At no time did we access people’s private messages on Facebook, or ask for the ability to do so.”