Facebook Disputes Report It Grants Phone Makers Deep Data Access

Facebook, which was founded in 2004, has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers - including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung - over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials were quoted as saying by the report.

Archibong said the rise of iOS and Android meant few people rely on the bespoke Facebook experiences these companies used to provide, which is why the company began "winding down" the partnerships in April, having ended 22 so far. The New York Times says that it discovered that the manufacturers were able to access data from members' friends even if they had specifically banned Facebook from using their data.

Facebook responded to the piece with a post called 'Why We Disagree with The New York Times.' In it, the company says that APIs were provided to allow access to Facebook on a range of devices, and that this is a very different situation to Cambridge Analytica.

"Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users' friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders", the daily said reporting the results of its investigation.

The revelation comes weeks after the Facebook data scandal where personal data of up to 87 million users were improperly shared.

Amazon and Samsung declined to comment on whether they had access to Facebook user data through the APIs.

Many makers of phones and tablets allow people to use Facebook without actually opening the Facebook app, by integrating some of its functionality into their own software.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook's app clean-up may end up being more hard than we think.

"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.

A Blackberry spokesman said the company "did not collect or mine" the data given by Facebook.

'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'. A Microsoft representative said the company started working with Facebook in 2008 but said no data was synced with Microsoft servers as it was stored locally on the phones powered by Microsoft. The information was allegedly used to help target political advertising. Lax policies around sharing data with third parties led to the leak of information to consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on successful Republican campaigns, including that of President Donald Trump.

In interviews to NYT, Facebook defended its data-sharing agreement and asserted that these are consistent with its privacy policies, the FTC agreement and pledges to users.

"We're not aware of any people's information being misused by these companies", Archibong said.

Latest News