Meta (again) denies that Netflix read users’ private Facebook messages

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Meta is denying that it gave Netflix entree to users’ backstage messages. The declare precocious began circulating connected X after X proprietor Elon Musk amplified multiple posts astir nan matter by replying “Wow” and “Yup.” The declare references a court filing that emerged arsenic portion of nan find process in a class-action lawsuit complete information privateness practices betwixt a group of consumers and Facebook’s parent, Meta.

The archive alleges that Netflix and Facebook had a “special relationship” and that Facebook moreover cut spending connected original programming for its Facebook Watch video work truthful arsenic not to compete pinch Netflix, a ample Facebook advertiser. It besides says that Netflix had entree to Meta’s “Inbox API” that offered nan streamer “programmatic entree to Facebook’s user’s backstage connection inboxes.”

This is nan portion of nan declare that Musk responded to successful posts connected X, starring to a chorus of angry replies astir really Facebook personification information was for sale, truthful to speak.

Meta, for its part, is denying nan accuracy of nan document’s claims.

Meta’s communications director, Andy Stone, reposted nan original X post connected Tuesday pinch a connection disputing that Netflix had been fixed entree to users’ backstage messages.

“Shockingly untrue,” Stone wrote connected X. “Meta didn’t stock people’s backstage messages pinch Netflix. The statement allowed group to connection their friends connected Facebook astir what they were watching connected Netflix, straight from nan Netflix app. Such agreements are commonplace successful nan industry.”

In different words, Meta is claiming that Netflix did person programmatic entree to users’ inboxes, but did not usage that entree to publication backstage messages.

Beyond Stone’s X post, Meta has not provided further comment.

However, The New York Times had antecedently reported successful 2018 that Netflix and Spotify could publication users’ backstage messages, according to documents it had obtained. Meta denied those claims astatine nan clip via a blog post titled “Facts About Facebook’s Messaging Partnerships” wherever it explained that Netflix and Spotify had entree to APIs that allowed consumers to connection friends astir what they were listening to connected Spotify aliases watching connected Netflix straight from those companies’ respective apps. This required nan companies to person “write access” to constitute messages to friends, “read access” to let users to publication messages backmost from friends, and “delete access,” which meant if you deleted a connection from nan third-party app, it would besides delete nan connection from Facebook.

“No 3rd statement was reference your backstage messages, aliases penning messages to your friends without your permission. Many news stories connote we were shipping complete backstage messages to partners, which is not correct,” nan blog station stated.

In immoderate event, Messenger didn’t instrumentality default end-to-end encryption until December 2023, a believe that would person made these sorts of claims a non-starter, arsenic it wouldn’t person near room for doubt. The deficiency of encrypted communications mixed pinch read/write entree to connection inboxes intends there’s nary guarantee that messages were protected, moreover if that wasn’t nan attraction of nan business arrangement.

While Stone is downplaying Netflix’s expertise to snoop connected backstage messages, it’s worthy noting that nan streamer was provided pinch a level of entree that different companies did not have.

The archive claims that Netflix had entree to Facebook’s “Titan API,” a backstage API that had allowed it to merge pinch Facebook’s messaging app. In speech for nan Inbox API access, Netflix besides agreed to supply nan societal networking institution pinch a “written study each 2 weeks” pinch accusation astir its proposal sends and recipient clicks and agreed to support its API statement confidential.

By 2015, Netflix was spending $40 cardinal connected Facebook ads, nan archive says, and was allowing Netflix personification information to beryllium utilized for Facebook advertisement targeting and optimization. In 2017, Netflix agreed to walk $150 cardinal connected Facebook ads and supply nan institution pinch “cross-device intent signals.”

Netflix and Facebook maintained a adjacent relationship, pinch then-Netflix CEO Reed Hastings (and Facebook committee personnel until April 2019) having nonstop communications pinch Facebook (Meta) execs including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, Comms VP Elliot Schrage and CTO Andrew Bosworth.

To support Netflix’s advertizing business, Zuckerberg himself emailed nan caput of Facebook Watch, Fidji Simo, successful May 2018, to show her that Watch’s fund for originals and sports was being trim by $750 cardinal arsenic nan societal web exited from competing straight pinch Netflix. Facebook had been building nan Watch business for 2 years and had only introduced nan Watch tab successful nan U.S. successful August 2017.

Elsewhere successful nan filing, Meta specifications really it snooped connected Snapchat postulation successful secret, among different things.