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

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

The Times' investigation reportedly found that since around 2007, dozens of tech and device-maker companies were granted broad access to collect data on Facebook users and their online "friends", including friends who had denied Facebook permission to share information with third parties. The problem lies in the level of access granted to these private APIs, which raises concerns over the amount of data shared with these third-parties. The partnerships give some device makers access to Facebook users' education history, relationship status, work, religion, political leaning and upcoming events, the Times reported. Blackberry similarly refrained from touching the data aside from its intended access, and Samsung refused to address the matter publicly.

The Federal Trade Commission in March confirmed it was investigating Facebook privacy practices.

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.

The 2011 decree prohibits the company from giving third party companies access to user data without their explicit permission.

Amazon and Samsung haven't yet provided comment.

"We are not aware of any abuse by these companies", Archibong said.

The Times did manage to demonstrate how a private API could grant a phone maker access to Facebook users, showing that a custom smartphone app could get the "relationship status, religious and political leanings" of more than 500 of a user's Facebook friends, and get "unique identifiers" on almost 300,000 friends of those friends.

Sandy Parakilas, a former Facebook staff member who has been critical of the company, said employees had raised concerns about the data partnerships as far back as 2011.

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.

The post goes on to say that the partners signed agreements that prevented people's information from being used for any other goal than to recreated Facebook-like experiences, which had to be approved by Facebook's engineering teams.

The Times specifically takes issue with Facebook's practice of letting these device partners "override sharing restrictions".

Facebook is on the defensive again over how it handles people's personal data.

Facebook still doesn't believe that it has done anything wrong, believing that its agreements with the manufacturers are all that it needs to maintain some sort of legal protection for itself.

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

"These contracts and partnerships are entirely consistent with Facebook's F.T.C. consent decree", said Mr. Archibong, a Facebook official. Cambridge Analytica has since been dissolved.

However, she warned that misuse of data was widespread across the internet and was not confined to the Facebook platform or this particular case. "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", Underwood said in a statement.

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