The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Rights + Justice

Federal Privacy Commissioner Investigating Claims RBC Could Read Private Facebook Messages

Bank denies allegation, but Facebook told The Tyee it had given RBC access.

By Bryan Carney 8 Feb 2019 |

Bryan Carney reports for The Tyee and is director of web production.

The federal government has launched an investigation into allegations the Royal Bank of Canada had access to the private Facebook messages of people using its app, Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien has told MPs.

The New York Times reported in December that RBC, Spotify and Netflix had all been given the ability to read the private messages of Facebook users who connected with the businesses.

Spotify and Netflix admitted they had been granted the ability, but said they didn’t use it.

RBC, Canada’s largest bank, denied it had access to the messages.

But last week a Facebook spokesperson told The Tyee that RBC did have the ability to read, write and delete private messages by Facebook members using its app between 2013 and 2015.

MP Charlie Angus raised Facebook’s statement to The Tyee with Therrien during a Jan. 31 meeting of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

“[RBC] said they never had those privileges; they never did that. The Tyee is now reporting that Facebook has told them that RBC had the capacity to read, write and delete private messages of Facebook users who were using the banking app,” said Angus, the committee’s vice-chair. “Have you looked into that? Do you think it's something that requires followup? Should we take RBC's word for it?”

Therrien confirmed his office is investigating.

“We actually received complaints from individuals on whether or not the Royal Bank was violating PIPEDA [The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act] in some way in receiving information in that way,” he replied.

“That question is the subject of a separate investigation,” said Therrien.

The investigation is separate from investigations into Facebook related to revelations about the practices of Cambridge Analytica and Victoria-based AggregateIQ, Therrien said.

The government told The Tyee it was “not in a position to add further details” due to the act’s rules.  [Tyee]

Read more: Rights + Justice, Media

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Do not:

  •  Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully, threaten, name-call or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, downvote, or flag suspect activity
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls and flag violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Stay on topic
  • Connect with each other


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Preparing for the Next Climate Disaster?

Take this week's poll