Facebook lets Spotify and Netflix read private messages, and you agreed

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Facebook admits to letting Netflix and Spotify read users' private messages

Facebook is in hot water again. In what seems like a never-ending cycle, the social media giant is under fire by angry customers yet over another breach of trust. After an accusation by The New York Times, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was forced to answer more questions about how the company shares its users’ personal data.

In today’s digital world, personal data is the most prized commodity among big businesses. It allows them to target specific users with ads and therefore increase revenue. However, Facebook has recently been at the center of many morally ambiguous situations; including a massive data scandal this past July.

Trying to Quench the Fires

Late Wednesday, Facebook published a blog post to their newsroom site, explaining why it allowed Netflix, Spotify, and the Royal Bank of Canada to access, read, write, and delete users’ private messages.

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“No third party was reading your private messages, or writing messages to your friends without your permission,” the post said.

They go on to explain that the users involved gave Facebook permission to share this information when connecting their account to the other services mentioned. Despite this, users claim to have not known that read/write privileges of their private messages were included in the agreement.

Following the news, Facebook’s stock price fell another 7 percent. Shockingly, this dip was just a drop in the bucket for the stock, which has plummeted more than 25 percent so far in 2018.

Is Data Really Secure?

Cases like this and Facebook’s other missteps with user data, along with other companies data breaches, begs the question: is private user data really safe? Around the world, people click the small button labeled “I agree” without thinking of what it really means.

Unfortunately, data is extremely difficult to track. Companies using, sharing, and selling user data can get away with it most of the time unless something brings it to light. After seeing the treacherous results and public scorn for companies like Facebook following announcements of their data mishaps, other corporations should ensure that steps are taken to protect user data.

Perhaps this is the reason that Acer predicted a double digit growth in cybersecurity demand over the next several years.

Despite the efforts being made, some are still calling for Zuckerberg to step down following the rash of problems under his leadership. Between senate hearings, conspiracies, and an upset user base, it may be time for Facebook to oust its CEO and look for new leadership.