Facebook gave firms broad access to data on users, friends: NYT

WASHINGTON, Jun 4 (PTI): Facebook has formed data-sharing partnerships with 60 device makers, including Apple and Microsoft, giving them access to information of users and even their friends, a media report has claimed.
The New York Times on Sunday revealed the partnerships, shedding new light on the social media giant’s behaviour related to customer data in the wake of a scandal involving the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook, which was founded in 2004, has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers over the last decade, before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials were quoted as saying by the report.
The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers to offer its customers popular features of the social network.
The agreements that Facebook entered raise “concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree” with the Federal Trade Commission, the report said.
“Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders,” the daily has said reporting the results of its investigation.
Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing.
In its 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.
“These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform,” Ime Archibong, Facebook vice president told the daily.
Unlike developers that provide games and services to Facebook users, the device partners can use Facebook data only to provide versions of “the Facebook experience,” the officials were quoted as saying.
The report comes as Facebook has come under scrutiny for its handling of private data after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica accessed millions of users’ private information.
In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had admitted making a “huge mistake” as personal data of up to 87 million users may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.