The company Meta supposedly let Netflix read private messages from Facebook users for about ten years, breaking rules against unfair competition and privacy. Explosive court papers say this:

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Unfair Business Lawsuit

The papers, made public last week, are part of a big lawsuit against unfair business practices by Maximilian Klein and Sarah Grabert, who are U.S. citizens. They say Netflix and Facebook had a special deal that helped Netflix show ads on Facebook better.

The lawsuit alleges that Facebook got lots of money from Netflix through advertising, with Netflix promising to spend $150 million on ads in 2017 as part of their close relationship.
The lawsuit says that Reed Hastings, one of the people who started Netflix, became part of Facebook's board of directors. Then, he played a big role in Facebook shutting down Facebook Watch, which was a service like Netflix.

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The lawsuit was filed in April 2023. It asks the court to make Hastings answer the claims from the people suing.

The lawsuit says that for almost ten years, Netflix and Facebook had a special connection. Netflix spent hundreds of millions of dollars on ads on Facebook. They also had agreements to share information with Facebook and got special access to parts of Facebook's software that helped Facebook show ads better.

"For nearly a decade, Netflix and Facebook enjoyed a special relationship. 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," the lawsuit states.

APIs (application programming interfaces) are like bridges that let different computer programs talk to each other and share information.

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One agreement let Netflix see private messages on Facebook, and Netflix had to send Facebook reports every two weeks about how many times people clicked on recommendations.

In August 2013, Facebook gave Netflix access to something called the 'Titan API.' This let Netflix see things like Facebook users' friends who used messaging apps, according to the documents.

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Meta has said before that it doesn't share people's private messages with partners without them knowing. They say the API access just lets partners send messages to users through the API.

"Meta didn’t share people’s private messages with Netflix," a Meta spokesperson told Fox Business on Tuesday. "As the document says, the agreement allowed people to message their friends on Facebook about what they were watching on Netflix, directly from the Netflix app. Such agreements are commonplace in the industry. We are confident the facts will show this complaint is meritless."

Reaching Out To Netflix For A Comment

FOX Business tried to contact Netflix for more comments but didn't get an immediate response. Facebook changed its name to Meta in 2021 when its CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced the metaverse, a virtual reality space.

Browsing Movie On Streaming Media Service.
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A 2018 Report Claimed Facebook Let Spotify and Netflix Read Users' Private Messages

In 2018, the New York Times published a report based on hundreds of pages of Facebook documents. The report claimed that Facebook let Spotify and Netflix read users' private messages.

The report said that these partnerships helped Facebook grow really fast and make more money from ads.

Meta has already been fined for sharing users' information without asking.

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In 2022, Ireland fined Meta $284 million because data from over half a billion users was leaked online. This included their full names, phone numbers, where they were, and birthdays. This happened to people who used the platform between 2018 and 2019. Meta said a "bad actor" used a security problem to do this, according to the Daily Mail.

That same year, Meta agreed to pay $725 million to end a case about a security problem linked to Cambridge Analytica, a British company that works on social media.

The company paid Facebook to get the personal information of about 87 million Facebook users. They used this information to target people who were going to vote in the 2016 U.S. election, which ended with Donald Trump winning.

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