Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends

Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends, by Gabriel Dance.

As Facebook sought to become the world’s dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users’ personal information.

Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, “like” buttons and address books.

But the partnerships, whose scope has not previously been reported, raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. 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. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.

Most of the partnerships remain in effect, though Facebook began winding them down in April. The company came under intensifying scrutiny by lawmakers and regulators after news reports in March that a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, misused the private information of tens of millions of Facebook users.

So Cambridge Analytica just did what many other companies and researchers did. When Obama’s campaign did it in 2012, it was considered “smart.”

Dem lawmaker: ‘Looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress’, by Ali Breland.

“Sure looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress about whether users have ‘complete control’ over who sees our data on Facebook,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) tweeted on Sunday. …

The partnerships allowed device makers to obtain Facebook user data like relationship status, religion and political leanings from users and also allowed for the sharing of the data of users’ Facebook friends.