Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Facebook defends data-sharing partnerships with phone makers

Facebook defends data-sharing partnerships with phone makers

The agreements also gave device makers access to Facebook users' friends' data, without their approval, despite the company's insistence that it would not share the information, the report said. Some device-makers could get back personal information even from users' friends who considered they had disqualified any sharing, The New York Times report exposed.

In a post on Facebook's blog, vice president of product partnerships Ime Archibong reiterates the company's stance that the device-integrated APIs were controlled tightly.

Head of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee John Thune said in a statement to Reuters on Monday that the committee had sent a letter seeking additional information from Facebook about its data collection practices in the wake of a report published by The New York Times on Sunday. The reporter discovered that one Blackberry app was able to acquire "identifying information" for up to 295,000 Facebook users.

"In the furor that followed, Facebook's leaders said that the kind of access exploited by Cambridge in 2014 was cut off by the next year, when Facebook prohibited developers from collecting information from users' friends", the New York Times says.

Facebook confirmed the agreements but said they were used for creating "Facebook-like experiences" before app stores were the norm. This was to the extent that some companies could retrieve data on a Facebook user's friends even when such sharing was thought to have been barred.

"Consumers have the right to know how their personal information is being used; and the companies we trust with our information have a critical responsibility to protect it", she added. The Times investigation details the scope of data-sharing partnerships Facebook has forged with at least 60 device makers, including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, HTC, Microsoft and Samsung.

The deals granted the companies access to a user's relationship status, political leaning, educational history, religion and upcoming events, according to the news outlet.

MR ASHKAN SOLTANI, a research and privacy consultant, on the ability to override Facebook's sharing restrictions.

The company says that with iOS and Android now so dominant, it has now ended access by 22 device makers, and started limiting the power of them in April.

Archibong said that these device interfaces are "very different" from the type of public interfaces that allowed Cambridge Analytica to harvest data on millions of users.

We will remind, the General Director of Facebook mark Zuckerberg has apologized to the European Parliament for the mistakes of the social network in connection with the scandal with the leak of information.

A spokesman for Apple told the Times that it used the partnership with Facebook to allow iPhone users to post photos to the platform without opening the Facebook app. Apple no longer has such access to Facebook since last September.

Apple, Samsung and Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

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