Facebook fends off new NYT charges over data access

Laverne Mann
June 5, 2018

But the Times said the access continued even after Facebook agreed with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011 to better protect data and only share it after obtaining consumers' express consent.

If Facebook said that it removed open-access to your data, but access was still granted to 60 companies, how is that not lying?

The New York Times has discovered that Facebook for over a number of years has been sharing user data with phone and other device makers including Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Blackberry, and Microsoft. "The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, "like" buttons and address books", the report reads.

At least one member of Congress regarded new information about Facebook's data-sharing partnerships with tech companies as evidence that the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, lied to lawmakers in April about the control users have over their information on the social media platform.

The report comes as Facebook has come under scrutiny for its handling of private data after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica accessed millions of users' private information.

Ime Archibong, Facebook's vice president of product partnerships, responded to The Times' article with a blog post titled, "Why We Disagree with The New York Times".

Archibong said that the companies it partnered with had signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any goal other than to recreate Facebook-like experiences.

"This is yet another concerning example of companies collecting, sharing, and exploiting users' data in completely unexpected ways", commented Privacy International's legal officer Ailidh Callander. The company claims that these private APIs were "tightly controlled" in a statement posted on the Facebook newsroom.

"This is very different from the public APIs used by third-party developers, like Aleksandr Kogan", Archibong said on Monday, referring to the Cambridge University-affiliated researcher who is a key player in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. To date, Facebook has ended 22 such partnerships with technology companies.

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Facebook says those claims are wrong.

It said Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Amazon were among others to have struck data-sharing agreements.

There are legitimate and useful reasons for a smartphones and other internet-connected gadgets to strike agreements permitting them access to Facebook's user information.

'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'.

The social network added that it was not aware of there being any abuse of the shared data.

"This was flagged internally as a privacy issue", Sandy Parakilas, who then led Facebook's privacy compliance, told The Times.

"It is shocking that this practice may still continue six years later, and it appears to contradict Facebook's testimony to Congress that all friend permissions were disabled", he said.

"Over and over Facebook has proven itself unworthy of user's trust".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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