On Tuesday, a new report from The New York Times revealed that Facebook allowed tech companies like Spotify and Netflix access to its users' private messages. While Facebook has since acknowledged the report on the undisclosed access and said that it has no evidence of companies abusing people's data and information, many users may be wondering how to disconnect their Netflix and Spotify accounts from Facebook to further protect their information. And fortunately, the steps to do so are pretty simple.
Facebook has reportedly shared users' data with partner companies over the years, according to Business Insider, giving some access to see messages shared between users. These companies were also allegedly allowed to read, write, and delete private messages in a thread, as well as see who the messages were being sent to, according to The New York Times.
While Facebook users do give companies permission to have access to certain things on their feeds when they connect their accounts to different websites, The New York Times report says this type of access goes "beyond what the companies needed to integrate Facebook into their systems." And, according to The New York Times, Facebook allegedly "never told users it was sharing this data."
A spokesperson for Netflix tells Romper that although they had access to messages, the company "at no time" accessed them or "ask for the ability to do so." The statement continued, "Over the years, we have tried various ways to make Netflix more social. One example of this was a feature we launched in 2014 that enabled members to recommend TV shows and movies to their Facebook friends via Messenger or Netflix. It was never that popular so we shut the feature down in 2015."
Spotify did not immediately return Romper's request for comment.
Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Director of Developer Platforms and Programs for Facebook issued a statement on Tuesday, addressing the claims made in the New York Times report. These companies did have access to users' messages, according to the statement, so users could have "more social experiences" on other popular websites, and have access to specific Facebook features on different websites.
None of the companies had access to information without users permission, according to Facebook's statement, and most of the features that allowed for "more social experiences" are now gone or shut down.
Scott Satterfield, Director of Privacy and Public Policy at Facebook, said in a statement:
We know we've got work to do to regain people's trust. Protecting people's information requires stronger teams, better technology, and clearer policies, and that is where we've been focused for most of 2018. Partnerships are one area of focus, and, as we've said, we're winding down the integration partnerships that were built to help people access Facebook.
With that said, some users still might want to take the extra steps to protect their information. And if you don't want your Facebook account linked to other accounts on the internet, luckily, there are steps to take to disconnect both Netflix and Spotify accounts from the social media site.
Disconnecting a Spotify account from Facebook is simple — and there are multiple ways to do it.
Users who have the desktop app can click the arrow button located next to their name in the top right corner of the app. Once there, click "Settings" and scroll until you see the "Facebook" heading. Then, click "Disconnect from Facebook" (as seen in the screenshot above) to disconnect both accounts.
If users don't have the desktop app, they can go online to this link and click "Sign Out Everywhere" to be logged out of all devices, including Facebook.
If users want to go the extra mile, they can remove all of the apps that they've given access to from their Spotify account. It is important to note that users can only do this from a computer, not their mobile application.
Netflix no longer allows users to sign up for an account using Facebook, but still support users who had their accounts linked to the website. There are two ways to disconnect Facebook from Netflix.
Users can go into their account settings, click on "Social Settings," and click on "Disconnect."
If users don't have this option in their Netflix account settings (like myself), they can check to see if Netflix is connected to their Facebook account through Facebook itself. Users can go to the Apps and Websites tab in their Facebook account settings to see what websites currently have access to their accounts. Under the "Expired" tab, users can locate Netflix and select "Remove" to permanently unlink their accounts. This allows users to also see what websites and applications currently have access to certain pieces of information from their accounts, so it's a great time to purge websites and applications from being connected to users Facebook accounts.
This way, users can ensure that their Facebook account is free from other applications accessing their friends list, email, photo, or other information that they might not want floating out on the internet.