Facebook fends off new NYT charges over data access

05 June, 2018, 05:04 | Author: Juana Mckenzie
  • Facebook co-founder Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in April

The partnerships with device makers were formed "over the last decade", and the device-application developers could "obtain data about a user's Facebook friends", the Times says.

Facebook had responded to the Cambridge Analytica scandal by stating that it ceased allowing such third-party access in 2015, but the NYT reports that this doesn't appear to include device makers.

In interviews to The New York Times, Facebook however defended its data sharing agreement and asserted that these are consistent with its privacy policies, the FTC agreement and pledges to users.

However, the deals are still in place, and the companies could - in theory - access your and your friends' data in ways that most any person would consider violations of privacy. And it could spark additional scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, which is already investigating Facebook for a series of other recent, privacy mishaps. Apple tells the Times its access to the data ended in September; Amazon and Samsung declined to comment.

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In a test, a New York Times reporter logged onto Facebook using a 2013 Blackberry device, using an account with roughly 550 friends, monitoring the data requested and received.

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

In this case, however, it's not clear how the device makers could have abused Facebook even if they wanted to. He said that in the early days of mobile internet-before Facebook had a standalone app-the company partnered up with device-makers to make Facebook-like features (such as messages and like buttons) available to their users.

Apple said it used data pulled in from Facebook to let people post photos and other items on Facebook without opening the Facebook app. The company claims that these private APIs were "tightly controlled" in a statement posted on the Facebook newsroom.

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She has only mentioned BlackBerry because it was the only name given by Facebook when explaining or justifying its partnerships and agreements with device makers. The company said that since iOS and Android are so popular now, not many need these APIs to offer their own custom Facebook experiences.

Former Facebook privacy compliance official Sandy Parakilas, now a bigtime Facebook critic, told the paper that the device partnerships had been "flagged internally as a privacy issue", and it was "shocking" that the data-sharing is still going on. "So companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube had to work directly with operating system and device manufacturers to get their products into people's hands", describes Archibong.

US Congressman David Cicilline, who has introduced a bill meant to curb Facebook and Google's influence in the news industry, said the Times report raises questions about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg's testimony before Congress earlier this year. Most notably, this was done after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that now has governments across the world demanding more protection for consumers.

Meanwhile, Facebook said it started winding down the partnerships in April, as they were no longer needed to serve users. But no one's forcing you to use Facebook.

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