More than 150 companies, including major tech organizations and online retailers, made arrangements with Facebook to have special access to users' personal data, The New York Times reports. This apparently violated Facebook's privacy pledges and, potentially, federal regulations. The report is based on a review of 270 pages of Facebook documents plus interviews with more than 50 former Facebook employees and corporate partners. Under the arrangements, partners were essentially exempt from the usual privacy rules; Netflix and Spotify, for example, were granted permission to read users' private messages, and Amazon could obtain the contact information of users through their friends. The deals involved the data of hundreds of millions of users every month, and some were still active this year.
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