Facebook Shockingly Accused of Sharing User's Messages with Netflix

Social media platform Facebook allegedly received a whopping amount of advertisement revenues from Netflix for sharing the private messages of all its users

By Raunak Bose
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Netflix and Facebook.jpg

Netflix and Facebook (Image via TechFirstNow)

Social media giant, Facebook has found itself at the receiving end of yet another lawsuit. The lawsuit filed in April 2023 by plaintiffs, Maximilian Klein and Sarah Grabert lay grave allegations on Facebook claiming that the company has allowed streaming giant, Netflix access to the user's direct private messages in exchange for data for the past decade since 2013. 

The shocking lawsuit has also claimed that in exchange for the data shared, Facebook received guaranteed ad revenues of $150 million in 2017 from Netflix, since it allowed the latter to tailor their advertisements better and target potential clients easily. These explosive allegations have come to light after the court documents were unsealed last night. 

Facebook And Netflix Shared a Special Relationship According to the Lawsuit

Facebook now known as Meta permanently shut down their streaming app - Facebook Watch, in April 2023, a route that was taken to reduce costs for the company alongside the reduction of workforce. However, the lawsuit claimed that this move in truth was done under the influence of Reed Hastings, a former member of Facebook's Board of Directors.

Reed Hastings, co-founder of Netflix
Reed Hastings, co-founder of Netflix (via CNBC)

Hastings is one of the co-founders of Netflix and currently serves as an executive chairman. He served as a member of the Board of Directors for Facebook from 2011-2019, and also simultaneously served as Netflix's CEO until 2023. The lawsuit vividly highlights that the two companies had 'enjoyed a special relationship for nearly a decade.'

"Netflix bought hundreds of millions of dollars in Facebook ads; entered into a series of agreements sharing data with Facebook; received bespoke access to private Facebook APIs; and agreed to custom partnerships and integrations that helped supercharge Facebook’s ad targeting and ranking models... In August 2013, Facebook provided Netflix with access to its so-called ‘Titan API,’ a private API that allowed a whitelisted partner to access, among other things, Facebook users’ ‘messaging app and non-app friends,’" the documents claim. 

Despite these serious allegations of anti-trust breach, Meta has maintained a rigid stance on the lawsuit. A spokesperson from Meta called this lawsuit baseless, as he termed the partnership between the two companies as 'common industry practices.' According to Fox Business, he claimed that the agreement only allowed users to 'message their friends on Facebook about what they were watching on Netflix, directly from the Netflix app.'

The Mark Zuckerberg-owned social media platform has denied all allegations made by the lawsuit reinforcing their end-to-end encryption policy for chats, video and audio calls. This feature protects the privacy of its users, ensuring that messages and calls only stay between the sender and the recipient. 

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