Facebook hasn’t been selling your data, folks. Instead, it’s been giving it away free — and for a long time, that was part of the plan.
The New York Times published another long and damning investigation into the social giant’s data practices late Tuesday. That story, which was based on hundreds of documents reviewed by the Times, focused on Facebook’s extensive data partnerships with some of the world’s largest tech companies, like Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Microsoft.
“Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages,” the New York Times reported. “The social network permitted Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, and it let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts as recently as this summer.”
This story followed similar stories over the summer from the Times and the Wall Street Journal that found Facebook has long given partners special access to user data as a way to expand Facebook’s reach into other services online. New internal emails published earlier this month also confirmed these kinds of deals were in place.
All in all, it sounds like virtually everyone on the internet had access to some kind of Facebook data — which likely means some of your data — over the past eight years. And that’s probably true, in part because this is exactly how Facebook has intentionally operated from the beginning.
These deals, some of them more concerning/problematic than others, reflect the idealistic vision that CEO Mark Zuckerberg had for Facebook back in 2010 — a vision that your social profile wasn’t limited to Facebook’s app, but followed you around the web to personalize all the other experiences you have, too.