Facebook ‘not aware of any abuse’ of data by phone makers

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Facebook struck deals with at least 60 smartphone and tablet makers - including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Samsung - over the past decade that granted them "deep" access to personal data, according to a report.

The NYT questions whether these agreements conflict with a 2011 Federal Trade Commission decree that required, among other things, Facebook to, "obtain consumers' affirmative express consent before enacting changes that override their privacy preferences".

"Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users' friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders", the daily said reporting the results of its investigation. They continued to share data with device OEMs even when third-party data sharing was disabled, though still has noted that users could consent (or not) to share their data.

At the time, "we built a set of device-integrated APIs that allowed companies to recreate Facebook-like experiences for their individual devices or operating systems", Facebook Vice President of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong explained.

"These partners signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any other goal than to recreate Facebook-like experiences", Archibong said in the blog.

"Facebook and other data collectors, including these device manufacturers, should be prepared to come before Congress so that we can get a better grasp of the entire data collection ecosystem", New Jersey Rep.

The data-sharing arrangements date from as early as 2008; majority continue through to today, although Facebook began dismantling some of the deals in April - the same month its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified about privacy protections and political propaganda in Congress. In a blog post late last night, the company said that it disagrees with the NYT piece.


Facebook began shutting down the use of the APIs in April as part of its response to the Cambridge Analytica incident.

The New York Times has broken what could amount to the next major Facebook data breech scandal.

There are legitimate and useful reasons for a smartphones and other internet-connected gadgets to strike agreements permitting them access to Facebook's user information. The company claimed that once it discovered Cambridge Analytica's transgression, it immediately took swift action to rectify the situation. "We are not aware of any abuse by these companies".

"Over and over Facebook has proven itself unworthy of user's trust".

It said it forged partnerships with around 60 companies back when mobile phones were less powerful and app stores did not yet exist.

Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Samsung were among the companies Facebook reached agreements with, allowing the companies to access users' relationship status, religion, political views, and upcoming events they attend.

A former Facebook employee who led third-party ad and privacy compliance, Sandy Parakilas, noted that the program was controversial even within Facebook.

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