Facebook let SIXTY companies have 'deep access personal data about users'

Facebook gave user data to 60 companies including Apple, Amazon, and Samsung

This sharing of user data continued even after Facebook declared that it would stop sharing such data with outsiders, according to the New York Times. The problem lies in the level of access granted to these private APIs, which raises concerns over the amount of data shared with these third-parties.

The New York Times found that the social networking service concluded data-sharing partnerships with device making companies to expand its reach and let them offer their clients popular Facebook features such as messaging and address books.

The FTC is already investigating Facebook over whether it violated this consent decree following revelations of how it handled user data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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

"You might think that Facebook or the device manufacturer is trustworthy".

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. Facebook's rebuttal in the Times article and in a blog post dodges the obvious questions about the scope of Facebook's data-sharing arrangements with outside companies.

But the company has disputed parts of the New York Times' report, and says the situation is very different from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. "And our partnership and engineering teams approved the Facebook experiences these companies built", Archibong said.


Remember, the company has been in damage-control mode since March, when the Times was among the news organizations that disclosed details about how the mysterious political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was able to obtain information on tens of millions of Facebook users largely without their knowledge or permission, thanks to an endless series of data barn doors that Facebook had left open.

Facebook still doesn't believe that it has done anything wrong, believing that its agreements with the manufacturers are all that it needs to maintain some sort of legal protection for itself.

Facebook controlled the APIs tightly, and said the partners signed agreements that prevented information from being used for anything other than to "recreate Facebook-like experience".

"These partners signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any other goal than to recreate Facebook-like experiences". "It's why we announced in April that we're winding down access to them", the company wrote.

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

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. And friends' information was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends, he said. "BlackBerry users seem to have been turned into data dealers, unknowingly and unwillingly".

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