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RBC denies report claiming bank had access to Facebook users’ private messages

Click to play video: 'Facebook says it had consent to share users’ data, messages with other companies'
Facebook says it had consent to share users’ data, messages with other companies
WATCH: Facebook says it had consent to share users' data, messages with other companies – Dec 19, 2018

Royal Bank of Canada is denying allegations published by a U.S. media outlet that it had access to Facebook users’ private messages.

The bank was among the companies named in an explosive New York Times report published on Tuesday that claimed Facebook gave major corporations greater access to its users’ data than had been publicly disclosed.

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The paper reported that Facebook allowed Microsoft‘s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without their consent.

READ MORE: Facebook says it had consent to share users’ data, messages with other tech giants

Global News has not independently verified the report, which the paper said was based on hundreds of pages of Facebook documents.

Facebook, along with many of the other companies named in the report, are disputing the allegations.

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According to the New York Times, Facebook allowed Spotify, Netflix and RBC the ability to “read, write and delete users’ private messages, and to see all participants on a thread — privileges that appeared to go beyond what the companies needed to integrate Facebook into their systems, the records show,” the report stated.

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READ MORE: Facebook sued by Washington, D.C.’s attorney general over Cambridge Analytica scandal

In a statement, RBC said the company’s use of the social networking platform was limited to a service that allowed clients to send money to their friends, which was launched in December 2013.

“As part of our security and fraud protocols, we needed to uniquely identify the recipient of funds and payments to securely process the transaction and deliver the notification. We did not have the ability to see users’ messages,” the bank said.

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The service was shut down in 2015, RBC said, and its limited access, “which was used strictly to enable our clients’ payments” then ended.

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Netflix and Spotify have also denied they accessed Facebook messages.

“At no time did we access people’s private messages on Facebook, or ask for the ability to do so,” Netflix said in a statement.

Facebook is also denying claims it gave companies access to people’s data without their permission through partnerships.

READ MORE: Facebook filed a patent for technology that uses photos to predict who you live with

“None of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people’s permission, nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC,” Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of developer platforms and programs, said in a blog post.

Facebook said it shut down nearly all of the partnerships over the past several months, except Apple and Amazon.

— With files from Reuters

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