Meta denies (again) reading Netflix users' private Facebook messages | Tech Crunch

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Meta denies that Netflix gave it access to users' private messages. The lawsuit started recently Rotating in X After X owner Elon Musk expands Multiple Posts About the subject by answering “Wow“and”Yes.” The claim refers to a court filing that emerged as part of the discovery process in a class-action lawsuit over data privacy practices between a group of users and Facebook's parent Meta.

The document alleges that Netflix and Facebook have a “special relationship” and that Facebook has cut spending on original programming for its Facebook Watch video service to avoid competing with Netflix, a large Facebook advertiser. It also says Netflix has access to Meta's “Inbox API,” which gives the streamer “programmatic access to Facebook user's private message inboxes.”

That's part of the claim Musk responded to in posts on X that led to a group of angry replies about how Facebook's user data was for sale.

Meta, for its part, is denying the accuracy of the document's claims.

Meta Communications Director, Andy Stone, Reposted the original X post Tuesday with the controversial announcement that Netflix had been given access to users' private messages.

“Shockingly unreal,” Stone wrote in X. “Meta did not share people's private messages with Netflix. The agreement allowed them to message their friends on Facebook about what they were watching on Netflix directly from the Netflix app. Similar agreements are common in the industry.

In other words, Meta is claiming that Netflix had programmatic access to users' inboxes, but didn't use that access to read private messages.

Beyond Stone's X post, Meta offered no further comment.

However, the New York Times previously reported in 2018 that Netflix and Spotify could read users' private messages, according to documents it obtained. Meta denied those claims at the time in a blog post titled “The Facts About Facebook's Messaging Partnerships,” where it explained that Netflix and Spotify had access to APIs that allowed users to message friends about what they were listening to on Spotify or watching directly on Netflix. From those companies' respective apps. Companies need “write access” to compose messages to friends, “read access” to allow users to read back messages from friends, and “delete access” if you delete a message from a third-party app, it will also delete the message from Facebook.

“A third party cannot read your private messages or send messages to your friends without your permission. Many news stories suggest that we are sending private messages to partners, which is not correct,” the blog post said.

In any case, Messenger won't implement default end-to-end encryption until December 2023, making claims like this a non-starter because it leaves no room for doubt. The lack of encrypted communications combined with read/write access to message inboxes means there is no guarantee that messages will be protected, even if the business arrangement is not focused on.

While Stone downplays Netflix's ability to snoop on private messages, it's worth noting that the streamer is given a level of access that other companies don't have.

The document said Netflix had access to Facebook's “Titan API,” a private API that allowed it to integrate with Facebook's messaging app. In exchange for Inbox API access, Netflix agreed to provide the social networking company with a “written report every two weeks” and to keep information about its referral sending and recipient clicks and its API agreement confidential.

As of 2015, Netflix is ​​spending $40 million on Facebook ads, and the document states that Netflix allows user data to be used for Facebook ad targeting and optimization. In 2017, Netflix agreed to spend $150 million on Facebook ads and provide the company with “cross-device intent signals.”

Netflix and Facebook maintained a close relationship with then-Netflix CEO Reed Hastings (and a Facebook board member until April 2019) having direct conversations with Facebook (meta) executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, Comms VP Elliot Schrage, and CTO Andrew. Bosworth.

Zuckerberg himself emailed Facebook's Watch head, Fiji Simo, in May 2018 that Watch's budget for originals and sports would be cut by $750 million as the social network quits competing directly with Netflix to handle Netflix's advertising business. Facebook has been building the Watch business for two years and only introduced the Watch tab in the US in August 2017.

Elsewhere in the filing, Meta describes how it secretly snooped on Snapchat traffic, among other things.





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