Facebook let SIXTY companies have 'deep access personal data about users'

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress in early April.                  Xinhua News Agency  Getty

Facebook, which is already under scrutiny for misuse of millions of its users' data after the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal became public, reportedly allowed the device companies access to the data of users' friends without their explicit consent. In a report from The New York Times, it has been revealed that Facebook has several data-sharing partnerships with several huge tech companies.

Facebook has rejected claims by the New York Times that its sharing of personal data with smartphone firms represented a breach of privacy pledges that it had made to its members and a United States regulator.

"... we built a set of device-integrated APIs that allowed companies to recreate Facebook-like experiences for their individual devices or operating systems", writes Ime Archibong, Facebook VP of Product Partnerships.

New York Times shares its latest findings on Facebook.

According to the publication's article, Facebook had formed a partnership with dozens of companies in an effort to help them supposedly "recreate Facebook-like experiences" on their particular devices. Shares of Facebook are down 1.5% in premarket trading but up 26% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 12%.

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"What we have been trying to determine is whether Facebook has knowingly handed over user data elsewhere without explicit consent", Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, one of the German lawmakers who questioned Facebook in April, told the paper.

Parakilas told the Financial Times that while Facebook said it had blocked apps from acquiring the data held by app users' friends, "in the case of hardware manufacturers they didn't do that".

Facebook's reaction to Cambridge Analytica was centered largely on an apology tour, including through a marketing campaign hearkening back to better days for the company. 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. "Over the last decade, around 60 companies have used them - including many household names such as Amazon, Apple, Blackberry, HTC, Microsoft and Samsung".

The New York Times reported Sunday that Facebook had access agreements with at least 60 different device makers, including companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and BlackBerry.

A Facebook statement in response to the report denies that information belonging to friends of users was shared without permission.

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"These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform".

Facebook's reasoning for the situation is that it does not see these manufacturers as third parties.

Facebook did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment. Most notably, this was done after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that now has governments across the world demanding more protection for consumers.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spent much of 2018 explaining how his company collects personal data.

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