Facebook had data sharing agreements with 60 companies that manufacture devices and confirmed that they had been doing it to create a ‘Facebook-like experience’ for users.
The list of companies who had agreements includes Apple, Amazon, Samsung and Microsoft. These device makers were able to access a wide range of data such as religious and political leanings as well as relationship status of users.
Facebook has refused to answer about whether users friend data was made available to the device makers and if so whether this was without the users consent. This issue originally came to light as far back as early 2012 and this was flagged internally as a privacy issue for the users.
Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of Facebook has of course recently testified in front of the US Senate joint committee because of the Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal. Sandy Parakilas, who at the time led Facebook’s privacy compliance, told The Times. “It is shocking that this practice may still continue six years later, and it appears to contradict Facebook’s testimony to Congress that all friend permissions were disabled.”
Facebook apparently started to stop access to the user data for the app developers which included the names, birthdays and even political or religious leanings but Times suggested that device makers still had the power to access the data. Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of product partnerships, responded with a blog post titled “Why We Disagree with The New York Times”. He also confirmed that companies like Amazon, Apple, Blackberry, HTC, Microsoft and Samsung were used to allow users to access Facebook before the app stores were available.
“These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences,” said Archibong. “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. We are not aware of any abuse by these companies.”
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