Did Facebook Give Your Data to Apple and Samsung? Probably Not

Did Facebook Give Your Data to Apple and Samsung? Probably Not

Facebook worked with these companies to make it possible for "dumb" feature phones with limited flexibility, and smartphones before app stores were available, to reach Facebook's databases and give users of those devices access to their Facebook accounts.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook shared users' data with third-party firms making such as Apple, BlackBerry (???), Microsoft and Samsung, according to The New York Times.

However, Facebook blasted back at the Times report, saying the newspaper has misinterpreted the goal and function of its so-called "device-integrated APIs" - the software that allows hardware companies to bridge into Facebook's database to offer versions of the app on their operating systems.

Apple said that it had previously used the software interfaces to allow iPhone users to do things like post photos to Facebook without opening the app, but that its device access was terminated in September.

It said Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Amazon were among others to have struck data-sharing agreements.

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On Monday, Facebook went on the offensive, echoing to politicians on Twitter Archibong's point that data was never integrated onto devices without users' permission.

It seems that even after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has not yet covered all its legal bases or sorted out any loose ends. "Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users' friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found".

Blumenthal and Markey also implied that Zuckerberg wasn't totally accurate when he told Congress that users had "complete control" over how they shared info and how people saw it. As a result, the social network allowed companies access to the data of user's friends without their explicit consent, raising concerns about whether the social network breached a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission from 2011.

Facebook, which came under attack early this year over British political consultant Cambridge Analytica's harvesting of personal data on 87 million Facebook users and their friends, did not deny the Times story but said it "disagreed" with the issues raised.

It also quoted an ex-FTC official as saying the APIs breached privacy commitments Facebook made to users in 2014.

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As an example of how device makers in the partnership with Facebook have special privileges involving members' data, a reporter for the New York Times logged into Facebook using the Hub app.

Responding to a request for comment, a Facebook spokesperson said, "We look forward to addressing the Commerce Committee's questions".

"These contracts and partnerships are entirely consistent with Facebook's FTC consent decree", Ime Archibong, Facebook's vice president of Product Partnerships, in a statement.

The partnerships themselves are no big secret - Facebook has been cultivating them for years, and they're often announced publicly, as Facebook confirmed in a blog post. In other words, they don't need to ask for additional consent from users just as Facebook doesn't need to.

The Times said the Facebook messages and data were routed to a BlackBerry app called the Hub, which was created to aggregate and centralize instant messages, emails, text messages and notifications from many sources, including social-networking services.

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