Meta refutes sharing users’ data with Netflix

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April 3, 2024
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2 min read
Meta
  • A court document revealed that Facebook's parent company, Meta, gave Netflix access to Facebook users' direct messages. 
  • The document is part of an anti-trust lawsuit against Meta filed by Maximilian Klein and Sarah Grabert, who claim that Netflix and Facebook had "a special relationship" that allowed the streaming giant to better tailor its ads using the latter's "bespoke access" to its user data.
  • In May 2023, Meta was fined €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) and ordered to stop transferring data collected from Facebook users in Europe to the United States in a ruling against the social media company for violating European Union data protection regulations.

According to the lawsuit filed in April 2023, Meta gave Netflix ten years of access to its users' data, which violated privacy laws. Meta reportedly received millions in advertising revenue from the streaming platform due to their close relationship. 

According to reports, Reed Hastings, co-founder of Netflix from 2011 to 2019, served on Facebook's board, giving him direct access to the company's leadership. 

Hastings was said to have used his position to oversee all aspects of the partnership, including how much the streaming platform committed to advertising and how they shared data. 

During this time, the streaming service reportedly purchased Facebook advertisements for hundreds of millions of dollars. As of February 2015, Netflix was reportedly spending $40 million annually on Facebook advertising. 

However, Meta has denied the allegations. Andy Stone, Meta's communications director, responded on X on April 2, 2024, denying that Netflix had access to users' private messages.

In his words, "Shockingly untrue. Meta didn’t share people’s private messages with Netflix. The agreement allowed people to message their friends on Facebook about what they were watching on Netflix directly from the Netflix app. Such agreements are commonplace in the industry.” 

Meanwhile, The Guardian reported in December 2018 that Facebook granted Netflix and Spotify access to read and even delete users' private messages. 

The report also revealed that the social media platform granted major companies far more exceptions to its privacy policies than previously known, allowing companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Sony to access user data through loopholes.

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