Report: Facebook provided dozens of companies with access to user data
According to an extensive report by the New York Times, reached agreements with at least 60 different device makers — including companies like Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and BlackBerry — providing access to large amounts of user data. More significantly, the agreements provided access to friends’ data, raising compliance issues with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission.
The report states that the data of users’ friends was often made available without explicit consent.
In the wake of the, Facebook’s app cleanup may end up being more difficult than we think.
In March, Facebook came under heavy fire in the wake of news that Cambridge Analytica had misused user data in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election. Since then, Mark Zuckerberg has in an attempt to answer questions about Facebook’s handling of user data.
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. Through a BlackBerry app called “The Hub,” the device was able to acquire “identifying information” for up to 295,000 Facebook users. It’s worth noting that a BlackBerry representative told the New York Times that more recent BlackBerry devices, running Android, do not use the same private channels.
Facebook posted a response to the New York Times article.
Written by Ime Archibong, vice president of product partnerships, the post says that these data agreements were a matter of necessity.
In the early days of mobile, the demand for Facebook outpaced our ability to build versions of the product that worked on every phone or operating system. It’s hard to remember now but back then there were no app stores. 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. This took a lot of time — and Facebook was not able to get to everyone.
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. Over the last decade, around 60 companies have used them — including many household names such as Amazon, Apple, Blackberry, HTC, Microsoft and Samsung.
According to the post, partners signed agreements preventing the data from being used for anything other than “Facebook-like experiences” on devices. Facebook says it is unaware of any misuse of the data shared using these agreements.
You can read more about the New York Times report here.
This article originally appeared on CNET.
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