Facebook responds to claims that it shared users' private messages

Following the news that Facebook has been embroiled in yet another privacy scandal, the company has released a blog post entitled 'Let’s Clear Up a Few Things About Facebook’s Partners'.

An investigation by the New York Times revealed Netflix, Spotify, and the Royal Bank of Canada as companies that Facebook granted access to its users' private messages, while other companies like Amazon, Sony, and Microsoft, were given access to information on users' Facebook friends.

In its statement, Facebook admitted that it gave third-parties access to private messages, saying: "To be clear: 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."

The post went on to explain that "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".

Netflix responds

While Netflix, along with Spotify and the Royal Bank of Canada, claims it didn't know the true extent of the personal data it had access to, CNBC has reported the companies "were able to read, write and delete users' private messages". 

In response, Netflix has released a statement saying: "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.”

Troubling behavior

It's not the first time this year that Facebook has been indicted in a security scandal – in fact, it's been a terrible year for the social media company, with the Cambridge Analytica scandal and multiple security breaches bringing it into disrepute.

Despite this, user numbers don't appear to have suffered as a result; although public trust in the company has been negatively affected. 

It remains to be seen whether the other companies named in the New York Times report will release their own statements to explain their involvement in the scandal, but in any case we will continue to update this breaking news story as more information comes to light. 

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.