Facebook accused of sharing your personal data with OEMs


Just this week, The New York Times reported on data-sharing arrangements between Facebook and dozens of device manufacturers, including Apple.

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

But according to a New York Times story (paywall), Facebook hasn't been counting mobile devices as third parties, leaving companies like Blackberry, Samsung, and Apple an open door to take and store information without explicit user consent.

Facebook's defense: In a detailed blog post, the company said these deals have been closely controlled, and "we are not aware of any abuse by these companies".

That happened, the Times Michael LaForgia said via Twitter, despite having deleted the Facebook app from the phone. A policy that was put in place after it was discovered that developers were using their apps to collect large amounts of data; in some occasions without the consent of the users themselves.

But the Times said the access continued even after Facebook agreed with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011 to better protect data and only share it after obtaining consumers' express consent.

A spokesman for Apple told the Times that it used the partnership with Facebook to allow iPhone users to post photos to the platform without opening the Facebook app. Apple no longer has such access to Facebook since last September. But when a prompt ask users whether they want to be tracked or not in no uncertain language, most are going to say no. The FTC is now investigating Facebook's privacy practices in light of the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal.

Most of the partnerships remain in effect, although in response to recent public and governmental concerns over data-sharing practices, the company has ended some of the agreements since March.

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Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Amazon were among the companies who signed up to data sharing agreements using the APIs.

In April of this year, Facebook reportedly started to slow down its partnerships in wake of the privacy and data practice scandal with Cambridge Analytica.

Here's a short list of all the companies that might have gotten their hands on your very intimate Facebook data without your knowledge: Global Science Research, S.C.L. Group (Cambridge Analytica's parent company), AggregateIQ.

"When we heard back from Cambridge Analytica that they had told us that they weren't using the data and deleted it, we considered it a closed case", Zuckerberg said on Capitol Hill in April. Private APIs allowed companies like Amazon, Apple, and Blackberry to access user data, including "relationship status, political leanings, and events they planned to attend".

The FTC declined to comment.

"Over and over Facebook has proven itself unworthy of user's trust".

Speaking at the tech giant's Worldwide Developer's Conference overnight, software engineering senior vice-president Craig Federighi said users would benefit from improved privacy features when iOS 12 and MacOS Mojave are released later this year.