Facebook said it shut down its "instant personalization" process in 2014, which allowed users to link their Facebook accounts with other services to see public information their friends shared. But it admitted the software components for the service were left in place after it shut down, potentially allowing developers to continue accessing users' personal information. Facebook said it has "no evidence data was used or misused after the program was shut down."
Facebook has been embroiled in a series of scandals this year over how it handles users' personal data. Documents released by a British lawmaker earlier this month showed Facebook had considered giving other companies special access to personal data.
Facebook shares have tumbled nearly 20 percent this year as investors have questioned the company's leadership and the possibility of more regulation.
A spokesperson for Netflix told CNBC the streaming service had launched a feature in 2014 that enabled members to recommend TV shows and movies to their Facebook friends via Messenger or Netflix, but then shut it down in 2015. "At no time did we access people's private messages on Facebook, or ask for the ability to do so," the Netflix spokesperson said.
A Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC in a statement: "Throughout our engagement with Facebook, we respected all user preferences." RBC said its use of the Facebook platform was limited to the development of a service that enabled clients to facilitate payment transactions to their Facebook friends, which it decommissioned in 2015.
"Previously, when users shared music from Spotify, they could add on text that was visible to Spotify. This has since been discontinued. We have no evidence that Spotify ever accessed users' private Facebook messages," a spokesperson for the company said.
Read the full New York Times report here.