Published: Tue, June 05, 2018
Tech | By Constance Martin

Facebook faces new regulatory backlash over data privacy

Facebook faces new regulatory backlash over data privacy

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

Most notably, the New York Times reports that Facebook gave them access to data from users' friends even after the social network assured the Federal Trade Commission that it was no longer sharing such data.

Facebook told the Times that the device makers can only harness social network account information to provide versions of the "Facebook experience", although the Times reporting shows that device makers seemed to have access to information that went beyond what was necessary to build useful apps.

The report says that the company hasn't only been sharing user data with their device makers but also their friends', as well.

The companies' access remained in tact even after Facebook realized in 2015 that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had exploited its access to tens of millions of users' personal information.

"Partners could not integrate the user's Facebook features with their devices without the user's permission", he said.

The company said that since iOS and Android are so popular now, not many need these APIs to offer their own custom Facebook experiences.

Guy Verhofstadt, chair of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, tweeted that Zuckerberg "was not totally honest" in claiming users control how their data is shared and who sees it.

Under scrutiny this time is the company's practice of sharing information about its users with dozens of smartphone and tablet makers.

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"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.

Facebook has responded with a blog headlined "Why we disagree with the New York Times".

Facebook reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones.

"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.

Facebook says it also shared the data so that users of Apple, Samsung and other devices could get notifications, add friends and have the ability to like things online.

Facebook began shutting down use of the APIs in April as part of its response to the Cambridge Analytica row.

Facebook confirmed the agreements, but said they were used for creating "Facebook-like experiences" before app stores were the norm.

"This was flagged internally as a privacy issue", Sandy Parakilas, who was leading third-party advertising and privacy compliance for Facebook's platform at the time, said.

Facebook denies that claim, issuing a statement saying that information from users' contacts "was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends". A BlackBerry (bb) spokesperson told the paper that the Canadian firm "did not collect or mine the Facebook data of [its] customers".

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