Facebook Allows Manufacturers Like Samsung, BlackBerry, And Apple Access To User Data

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"Sure looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress about whether users have "complete control" over who sees our data on Facebook", Mr. Cicilline wrote on Twitter.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook shared users' data with third-party firms making such as Apple, BlackBerry (???), Microsoft and Samsung, according to The New York Times. As a result, the social network allowed companies access to the data of user's friends without their explicit consent, raising concerns about whether the social network breached a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission from 2011. "And we approved the Facebook experiences they built", said Facebook's product partnerships chief, Ime Archibong, in a blog post. It monitored what data was transmitted when a reporter's Facebook account with 550 friends was connected to a BlackBerry. Facebook released the documents last month, but provided the lawmakers with the name of only one partner - BlackBerry - and little information about how its agreement with the device maker worked. This was to the extent that some companies could retrieve data on a Facebook user's friends even when such sharing was thought to have been barred. A response that is really par for the course for BlackBerry and as noted, the data was not used in the same manner as Cambridge Analytica.

Archibong noted that Facebook's APIs have been used less in recent years, presumably because people use the Facebook app directly on their iOS and Android phones (Quartz asked Facebook for clarification).That's why in April, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company announced that it was phasing out access to them.

In March, the FTC confirmed that it is investigating the Cambridge Analytica case, with Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC's consumer protection bureau, citing substantial concerns about Facebook's privacy practices.

Michelle De Mooy, director of the Center for Democracy and Technology's Privacy and Data Project, told Threatpost that the incident once again undermines trust in the data ecosystem and highlights the misalignment between Facebook's understanding of reasonable data-sharing and its users' understanding. Now, according to an exposé published yesterday in The New York Times, it seems that is not entirely true.

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BlackBerry said that the access was only used to give its own customers access to Facebook and messages. Some apps (these device makers) still have access to friend data.

Facebook said it granted smartphone access to this data well before mobile apps became popular, as a way of making its service work on a broad range of devices. It doesn't think it's violated the FTC deal, but former FTC official Jessica Rich told the Times that "under Facebook's interpretation, the exception swallows the rule".

'It's hard to remember now but back then there were no app stores'.

Partners signed agreements preventing personal information "from being used for any other objective than to recreate Facebook-like experiences", he said. Feature phones continued to outsell smartphones in North America for several more years, and feature phones still dominate the markets in India and Africa, which have tens of millions of Facebook users.

Amazon, Apple and Samsung also did not respond to a request for comment.

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