UPDATE: Facebook shared users' private messages

Facebook, the world's worst company, continues its awful treatment of user data. The latest report states that the company shared users' private messages with paying customers.

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UPDATE: We have added a statement from Netflix.

One truly has to wonder how Facebook can keep failing their users so often, and today's news adds to the chorus of hatred swirling around the social media giant. Reports have surfaced that the Palo Alto company shared users' private messages with companies like Netflix and Spotify. The company also made user friends lists available to Microsoft, without asking for permission.

The New York Times reports that Facebook gave preferred customers the right to read users' private messages. The Times discovered these dubious business practices in hundreds of pages of Facebook documents. The collaborative effort was mutually beneficial to the companies involved as Facebook could gain more users while providing their paying partners with user data to help them improve their services and marketing efforts. The obvious problem is that Facebook never asked users. In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress stating that users "have complete control" over everything they share on Facebook. 

The documents obtained by The New York Times along with dozens of interviews with former Facebook employees seem to overwhelmingly state the opposite of Zuckerberg's assertion. Facebook claims that they are acting well within regulations at that none of their partners abused the user data. Many data privacy experts including former F.T.C. officials have gone on record stating that these data-sharing agreements are not kosher. “This is just giving third parties permission to harvest data without you being informed of it or giving consent to it,” said David Vladeck, former head of the F.T.C.’s consumer protection bureau. “I don’t understand how this unconsented-to data harvesting can at all be justified under the consent decree.”

Netflix reached out to Shacknews to comment on today's news:

"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."

While Netflix says that they did not misuse user data, they do not deny that Facebook gave them the ability to do so. The company states very clearly that they did not access private messages on Facebook and did not ask for such access. We have updated our headline accordingly to focus the attention on Facebook's misuse of user data.

Facebook needs to be deleted before more damage is done to the Internet.
Facebook needs to be deleted before more damage is done to the Internet.

This garbage company needs to fade away into the dark recesses of the Internet. Their "move fast and break things" philosophy definitely helped them achieve tremendous user growth, but the expense to the world is starting to pile up. With countless reports of user data breaches and misuse, the company faces a potential backlash once users actually figure out what the social media giant is doing with all of their information. The company has a long way to go to regain the trust of savvy users, but many people still don't know or care about what is happening to their information. It is just a matter of time for all of Facebook's mistakes to catch up to them, ending in a glorious collapse as we saw with the likes of AOL, MySpace, and Friendster.


Asif Khan is the CEO, EIC, and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

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