Facebook has been yet again accused of sharing the personal data of its users highlighting the fact that personal data has become the most prized commodity of the digital age. The New York Times exposed the news that Facebook was giving Netflix and Spotify access to users’ personal messages. A Russian search engine called Yandex too had access to personal data shared by Facebook as it was an ‘integrated partner” of Facebook. Spotify was apparently unaware of the power given to them and Netflix and the Canadian bank had deactivated the tool which made this possible.
Previously Facebook had let Microsoft’s Bing, Amazon and Yahoo access the users’ personal data without their consent and the major scandal regarding this issue was the Cambridge Analytica scandal. According to the documents retrieved by the New York Times, Facebook gave over 150 companies access to personal data. Facebook’s director of privacy, Steve Shatterfield quickly rose to defend Facebook by disclosing the fact that the companies did not violate users’ privacy or the F.T.C agreement.
However, according to Mr. Soltani and three former employees of the F.T.C’s consumer protection division, the data sharing deals may have violated the agreement. Following these scandals, Facebook’s stock price has fallen; shareholders have asked Zuckerberg to resign from his post of chairman. Zuckerberg thought that integrating Facebook with their corporate partner would create a monopoly in the market and that Facebook would reign the market and Facebook did succeed in bringing up advertisement revenue. Facebook used contact lists from their partners like Amazon, Yahoo, and Huawei and they were able to gain an insight into the personal lives of its users and created the highly controversial tool called, “People You May Know.” Facebook will have very little power over the information of the people once it is shared with other companies.
The F.T.C employed to ensure the non-violation of the data sharing agreement has failed. Marc Rotenberg, the head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said, “There has been an endless barrage of how Facebook has ignored users’ privacy settings, and we truly believed that in 2011 we had solved this problem. We brought Facebook under the regulatory authority of the F.T.C. after a tremendous amount of work. The F.T.C. has failed to act.”