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How many users' private messages did Spotify see? A look at some numbers.

1 year ago by James Mattone in People, Tech

The latest privacy hammer to fall on Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) came on December 18 when a New York Times ($NYSE:NYT) investigation detailed how several high-profile tech companies had access to users' personal data, including, in some cases, private messages.

Among those companies in the piece were the Times, Yahoo ($NYSE:VZ), Spotify ($NYSE:SPOT), and Netflix ($NASDAQ:NFLX). All of them had Facebook app integration, where users can sign in using their Facebook account to connect their accounts or take advantage of special features either on Facebook or the third-party application.

For all of these companies, their main applications on Facebook ranked within the top-1000 of all applications for average monthly active users in 2017, the same year that the Times had records regarding Facebook's data-sharing practices.

Name  Monthly Active Users Rank (Average in 2017) 
Spotify  2.48
Netflix  125.28
Yahoo  402.34
The New York Times  779.09

Spotify is especially a platform; the NYT report said that Spotify had access to private messages from over 70 million users a month. Even today, Spotify is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to having active users through linking Facebook profiles to existing Spotify accounts.

The report isn't without its rebuttals; all four of these third-party companies declined to comment, were unaware of the powers it had over users' private data, or disputed how user information was used as outlined in the article. Facebook, of course, also defended itself, saying that it allowed companies to view its users' private messages, but denies doing so without user consent.

By saying that its users willingly consented to giving out personal data and private messages, the social media network is putting the onus on (and essentially blaming) its hundreds of millions of users to police what they share, including through third-party apps. And as such, those who are truly concerned with what Facebook has access to have one major, yet unpopular, solution:

Logging off and deleting the account itself.

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James Mattone

James is the Associate Editor at Thinknum Media, mainly covering video games, food, and tech news, but not afraid to head into Sephora or beauty brands if need be...

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