Facebook Allows Manufacturers Like Samsung, BlackBerry, And Apple Access To User Data

The partnerships may have also violated a 2011 Federal Trade Commission consent decree, according to The Times, which Facebook officials denied.

"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 NYT report said.

Facebook had data-sharing agreements with at least 60 device markers, many of which are still in effect, according to a report in The New York Times. A week earlier it emerged that data firm Cambridge Analytica may have gotten access to the data of up to 87 million users, and most of Facebook's 2 billion users may have had their personal data skimmed by "malicious actors".

Facebook began ending the partnerships in recent months, but the Times reported that many are still in use.

Apple says it doesn't monetize its own customers but apparently they're happy to monetize Facebook's.

An Apple spokesman said the company relied on private access to Facebook data for features that enabled users to post photos to the social network without opening the Facebook app, among other things.

Facebook is already under intense scrutiny by lawmakers and regulators, including the FTC, because of the Cambridge Analytica revelation, which raised serious concerns about the public APIs used by third-party developers and the company's data-sharing policies.


The Times found that the partnerships allowed outside companies to access personal user data like relationship status, religious and political affiliations, work history and birthdays, as well as the information of users' Facebook friends, even if the friends had blocked Facebook from sharing their information with third parties.

But the company officials did not disclose that such restrictions were not applicable to makers of cellphones, tablets and other hardware, the report said.

On April 24, weeks after CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to Congress about user privacy, Facebook said in an announcement to developers that it was winding down access to device-integrated APIs.

They said its partnerships were governed by contracts that strictly limited use of the data, including any stored on partners' servers, adding that they knew of no cases where the information had been misused.

'To bridge this gap, we built a set of device-integrated APIs that allowed companies to recreate Facebook-like experiences for their individual devices or operating systems'.

But the New York Times report claims that Facebook's partners were able to retrieve user data on relationship status, religion, political leanings and upcoming events, and were also able to get data about their users' Facebook friends, even if they did not have permission. "We are not aware of any abuse by these companies".

Facebook reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones.

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