Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Facebook gave user data to 60 companies including Apple, Amazon, and Samsung

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress in early April.                  Xinhua News Agency  Getty Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress in early April. Xinhua News Agency Getty
Cecil Davis | 04 June, 2018, 13:41

In interviews to The New York Times, Facebook however defended its data sharing agreement and asserted that these are consistent with its privacy policies, the FTC agreement and pledges to users.

Apple, Amazon, Samsung, and Microsoft were all among the companies to have a data-sharing partnership with Facebook over the last 10 years, according to The Times.

The Times reported some device makers had access to user data such as relationship status, religion, political leaning and events.

Facebook has responded to a New York Times story that raises privacy concerns about the company's device-integrated APIs, saying that it "disagree [s] with the issues they've raised about these APIs".

"Contrary to claims by the New York Times, friends" information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends, ' Archibong wrote.

"These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform", Ime Archibong, a Facebook vice president was quoted as saying.

The social network allowed device companies access to the information of users' friends without their permission, with some of the firms even being able to retrieve data of persons who thought they had banned any sharing, the newspaper reported on Sunday.

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Meanwhile Apple's rumored iPhone X Plus model, expected for this year, would also be fitted with a three-camera setup. Coming to the pricing, the Galaxy A9 Star and A9 Star Lite will be costing 3699 Yuan and 2699 Yuan respectively.

On April 24, weeks after CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified to Congress about user privacy, Facebook said in an announcement to developers that it was winding down access to device-integrated APIs.

Apple was among the companies that used device-integrated APIs to serve up a version of Facebook on its hardware, but the deals are now under scrutiny. A Facebook official said that regardless of where the data was kept, it was governed by strict agreements between the companies. Since then Mark Zuckerberg has testified in front of congress in an attempt to answer questions about Facebook's handling of user data.

Critics of the company say that the device-integrated APIs are a violation of that control, however, allowing device makers a direct line into user data. Facebook says that this is okay because even though it stopped providing this information to third parties in 2015, it doesn't consider BlackBerry to be a third party because of the partnership that it and other device makers have with Facebook.

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

A Facebook statement in response to the report denies that information belonging to friends of users was shared without permission. A former Facebook employee who led third-party ad and privacy compliance, Sandy Parakilas, noted that the program was controversial even within Facebook.

Amazon and Samsung declined to comment on whether they had access to Facebook user data through the APIs. It also found the data of users' friends could be accessed, despite data sharing being turned off. "We are not aware of any abuse by these companies".