article urlNetflix paid Facebook over $100 million to access and read users' private messages, court documents allege
Tue Apr 02 2024
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Quick Hit:

Netflix, the popular streaming service, allegedly paid Facebook over $100 million for access to private user messages according to claims made in an unsealed court document.

Key Details:

  • Netflix and Facebook allegedly exchanged user data, with Netflix gaining access to private messages and Facebook receiving user watch history.
  • The streaming platform reportedly paid over $100 million for this access.
  • The document suggests that Netflix began lobbying Congress in 2011 for permission to share data in the US, and by 2013, had entered into a series of "Facebook Extended API" agreements.

Diving Deeper:

According to the document, Netflix announced a Facebook integration in 2011, aiming to share user data on an international scale. The streaming giant then began lobbying Congress to allow for such data sharing within the United States. By 2013, Netflix had entered into a series of "Facebook Extended API" agreements, including an "Inbox API' agreement. This agreement allowed Netflix programmatic access to Facebook users' private message inboxes. In return, Netflix would provide Facebook with a written report every two weeks, detailing daily counts of recommendation sends and recipient clicks.

In August 2013, Facebook reportedly provided Netflix with access to its "Titan API," a private API that allowed a whitelisted partner to access Facebook users' messaging app and non-app friends. The document suggests that the two companies maintained a close relationship for nearly a decade.

Furthermore, the document indicates that Netflix increased its advertising spending on Facebook, reaching approximately $150 million annually by early 2019. This revelation raises questions about the extent of data sharing between the two companies and the privacy of user data.

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