Data sharing deals plague Facebook

04 June, 2018, 16:41 | Author: Leah Owens
  • Facebook says it “disagrees” with the New York Times’ criticisms of its device-integrated APIs		
		
	Catherine Shu

       @	   
   	8 hours

Facebook entered into a consent agreement with the FTC in 2011 that barred it from sharing data with third parties without informing users.

Facebook is under increasing scrutiny from lawmakers, regulators and users around the world over its handling of users' data and the steps it takes to protect their privacy.

Who still has access and why?

Facebook said it forged the partnerships back when mobile phones were less powerful and app stores did not yet exist, aiming to create device-integrated APIs, but the company only announced that it would wind them down in April.

The Times piece uses the example of BlackBerry's Hub app, which aims to consolidate a user's messages from various platforms-from Facebook notifications to Gmail emails-into one interface.

"In the furor that followed, Facebook's leaders said that the kind of access exploited by Cambridge in 2014 was cut off by the next year, when Facebook prohibited developers from collecting information from users' friends", the New York Times says.

This sharing of user data continued even after Facebook declared that it would stop sharing such data with outsiders, according to the New York Times.

What does that software do with the data?

The information was allegedly used to help target political advertising. A BlackBerry (bb) spokesperson told the paper that the Canadian firm "did not collect or mine the Facebook data of [its] customers". Apple said its phones no longer had such access to Facebook as of last September.

Microsoft said its API access ended in 2008, adding that the bridge was used to do things like add contacts and receive notifications, and that all data was stored locally on the user's device. "All these partnerships were built on a common interest - the desire for people to be able to use Facebook whatever their device or operating system".

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It's potentially a very big problem for Facebook.

New York Times reporters Gabriel J.X. Dance, Nicholas Confessore and Michael LaForgia write that "the partnerships, whose scope has not been previously reported, raise concerns about the company's privacy protections", as well as its compliance with a consent decree it struck with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011.

Facebook gave at least 60 device makers broad access to its users' information, potentially in conflict with what the company told Congress, a new report has revealed.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal already led the FTC to investigate whether Facebook broke this settlement.

The social network added that it was not aware of there being any abuse of the shared data.

"You might think that Facebook or the device manufacturer is trustworthy". In April, Facebook started ending the agreements though a lot of them still remain in effect.

According to the post, partners signed agreements preventing the data from being used for anything other than "Facebook-like experiences" on devices.

In interviews, several former Facebook software engineers and security experts said they were surprised at the ability to override sharing restrictions.

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