The company said these partners got access to messages but users "had to explicitly sign in to Facebook first" before using a partner's messaging feature. The ad was in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where almost 100 million users had their data mined by the political consulting firm for use in the 2016 presidential election.
However, he also criticised the Times' report for blurring the lines between access by third-party clients or OS integrations with what could be legitimate concerns about data being sent out to other companies. Facebook acknowledged that it did not consider any of those three companies to be service providers.
Since then, as the social network has disclosed its data-sharing deals with other kinds of businesses - including internet companies such as Yahoo - Facebook has labelled them integration partners, too.
Facebook's explanation is that the flow of information between its user repositories and the company's partners did require the consent of Facebook account holders, and that agreements with more than 150 companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo and Apple obliged those partners to comply with Facebook privacy requirements and weren't abused. While most were technology companies, there were also automakers and media organizations.
He added that Facebook's partners "don't get to ignore people's privacy settings", but concluded that the company has "got work to do to regain people's trust" which is putting it mildly.
Netflix said that while it tried to use Facebook to boost its usability among customers, it never read users' private messages on the social media site. Some, the Times notes, were still in effect this year.
According to a New York Times report, the special arrangements were discovered in internal Facebook documents that track partnerships and were acquired by the Times.
"At no time did we access people's private messages on Facebook or ask for the ability to do so", a Netflix spokesperson said in response to the story.
The arrangements bypassed Facebook's typical privacy protections, making it harder for users to determine where and how their data was being shared by using the tools Facebook had made available for that goal.
Steve Satterfield, the company's director of privacy and public policy, said Facebook, which came under investigation from the Federal Trade Commission in March, did not violate the FTC agreement.
Freedom From Facebook, a group which has previously called for the tech giant to be broken up, said the newest revelations should pressure the FTC to act, Fox News reports.
The NYT report also sheds light on how Facebook shared data with over 60 manufacturers of mobile devices, with Apple being one of the most notable examples.
THE FACTS: As part of the settlement, Facebook is required to obtain people's "affirmative express consent" before making changes that override their privacy preferences.
"The flagrancy with which Facebook has flouted its consent decree shows it doesn't take the agency seriously", the group said in a statement.