Facebook accused of sharing data with Apple, Samsung, and Amazon

Apple was among the companies that used device-integrated APIs to serve up a version of Facebook on its hardware but the deals are now under scrutiny

This could constitute a violation of Facebook's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 2011 privacy decree since Facebook was granting device makers access to a user's relationship status, political views, education history, religion, and much more without receiving explicit consent.

"Sure looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress about whether users have "complete control" over who sees our data on Facebook", he said via Twitter.

Facebook's arrangements with Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry and Samsung that allowed their devices to access data from the social network's users could further expose Facebook to steep fines and other penalties, experts said.

The Times report said: "Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users' friends who believed they had barred any sharing". "And we approved the Facebook experiences they built", said Facebook's product partnerships chief, Ime Archibong, in a blog post.

Facing blowback from the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal in March, Facebook vowed that it had put an end to that kind of information sharing, but never revealed that device makers had a special exemption. "All these partnerships were built on a common interest - the desire for people to be able to use Facebook whatever their device or operating system".

But - if that's true - why did it not also terminate these contracts with device manufacturers that gave companies the ability to do the exact same thing as what Cambridge Analytica was doing? Blackberry said it did not "collect or mine" Facebook data itself.

Information of 294,258 friends of friends was also identified using the Hub app.

And it has said the circumstances were "very different" from those involved in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which user data was used for different purposes.

Facebook is under increasing scrutiny from lawmakers, regulators and users around the world over its handling of users' data and the steps it takes to protect their privacy.

Facebook enabled device makers to interface with it at a time when it was building its service and they were developing new smartphone and social media technology.

Facebook says that this is okay because even though it stopped providing this information to third parties in 2015, it doesn't consider BlackBerry to be a third party because of the partnership that it and other device makers have with Facebook.

Apple, Amazon, Samsung, and Microsoft are among companies that have had a data-sharing partnership with Facebook over the past 10 years, according to The Times. A prominent American daily says the company has given phone makers vast access to personal information of its subscribers.

This massive sharing of information between certain companies may have started way back in 2008, before there was even a distinct Facebook app to speak of.

"We are not aware of any abuse by these companies", he added, noting that Facebook has been "winding down access" to the software.

Zuckerberg was adamant before Congress that Facebook is seriously committed to users' privacy.

However, Facebook blasted back at the Times report, saying the newspaper has misinterpreted the goal and function of its so-called "device-integrated APIs" - the software that allows hardware companies to bridge into Facebook's database to offer versions of the app on their operating systems.



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