Facebook had a secret data deal with Amazon which flouted its own privacy rules

  • Documents obtained by The New York Times show that Facebook had undisclosed deals with about 150 companies, including Amazon, giving them privileged access to user data.
  • The documents showed that, as of 2017, Amazon was able to get people’s names and emails via their Facebook friends, a practice which Facebook said it put an end to in 2014.
  • Amazon, in turn, supplied Facebook with contact lists to help the social network suggest more friend recommendations, the documents show.
  • Amazon told the Times that it used user data appropriately, but declined to comment on exactly how its partnership with Facebook worked.

Facebook’s data sharing deals with some of the world’s biggest companies have been exposed in an explosive New York Times report, which again raises concerns about the social network’s approach to privacy.

More than 270 pages of Facebook documents obtained by the Times showed that the firm gave certain companies privileged access to user data, including Amazon.

The documents showed that as of 2017 Amazon – along with Sony and Microsoft – was able to get hold of people’s names and email addresses through their Facebook friends, despite the fact that Facebook said it restricted this access in 2014.

In return, Amazon reportedly provided Facebook with contact lists to give it a better idea of people’s relationships, and allow it to suggest connections.


Read more:
Bombshell report shows Facebook let companies like Spotify and Netflix read private messages

Facebook defended its relationship with partners including Amazon in a statement published on Tuesday. It said that it was up to its partners to get consent from users.

“Our integration partners had to get authorization 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,” it said.

Amazon told the Times that it had used user data appropriately, but declined to comment on exactly how its partnership with Facebook worked.

“Amazon uses APIs provided by Facebook in order to enable Facebook experiences for our products. For example, giving customers the option to sync Facebook contacts on an Amazon Tablet. We use information only in accordance with our privacy policy,” an Amazon spokesman said in a statement to Business Insider.

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