Meta, Netflix in hot water: Lawsuit alleges secret data-sharing arrangement

By
Web Desk
Lawsuit claims Meta granted Netflix access to private Facebook messages. — Reuters/File
Lawsuit claims Meta granted Netflix access to private Facebook messages. — Reuters/File 

In a bombshell lawsuit against Facebook's parent company Meta, it has been alleged that Netflix had access to users' private Facebook messages as part of a secretive and longstanding "special relationship" between the tech giants.

Meta reports of this data trade being happening “for close to a decade.” And that Netflix is giving back the user data in exchange of private messages. 

The lawsuit filed by Maximilian Klein and Sarah Grabert challenges the companies who in an agreement allegedly shared "client-specific access" that enable Netflix to tailor the content to users.

Netflix and Meta's mutually successful business ties may have resulted from Reed Hastings good friendships with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, according to the press. 

Formally, Hastings, who was a member of the board of Facebook from 2011 to 2019, is reported to have played a key role in their connection during that timeframe.

It was reported in court documents that the two companies made arrangements to tailor corporate collaborations and other integrations in order to help Facebook in its ad-matching and ranking models. 

The Facebook board 30 days after Hastings joining it allegedly had an "Inbox API" agreement signed, provided to Netflix programatic access to users private messenger interface.

Besides a lawsuit involving Netflix and Facebook connection, it is also argued that Facebook received fortnightly reports from Netflix on user activities, bringing to light a comprehensive data-sharing deal between the two companies. 

Meta's claim of non-involvement raised a question of data sharing, partnerships, and the user's privacy and data protection extending the complexity of the jurisdiction.