Facebook 'not aware of any abuse' of data by phone makers

Barbara Underwood, the new attorney general in NY, said in a statement Monday that her office continues to investigate Facebook's data use after Cambridge Analytica, which includes looking "into these "data-sharing" partnerships". Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) said the new reports showed that Facebook "has failed to come clean with the American people about the extent, the scope and the scale, of data sharing".

In the United States, the tech giant's treatment of its users' sensitive information triggered new questions as to whether Facebook violated a settlement it brokered with the FTC in 2011 over a different privacy mishap.

The social media leader said it "disagreed" with the conclusions of a New York Times report that found that the device makers could access information on Facebook users' friends without their explicit consent.

An exposé published yesterday in The New York Times shows that third-party companies still have open access to your and your friends' Facebook data.

The post goes on to say that the partners signed agreements that prevented people's information from being used for any other objective than to recreated Facebook-like experiences, which had to be approved by Facebook's engineering teams.

So companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube had to work directly with operating system and device manufacturers to get their products into people's hands. "But the problem is that as more and more data is collected on the device - and if it can be accessed by apps on the device - it creates serious privacy and security risks", Serge Egelman, a privacy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies the security of mobile apps, told the daily. To date, Facebook has ended 22 such partnerships with technology companies.

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A report from The New York Times has accused Facebook of sharing your personal data with OEMs such as Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft, and Samsung. The latest revelation is that Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Blackberry were just a handful of more than 60 device makers given "deep access" to user data ...

'To bridge this gap, we built a set of device-integrated APIs that allowed companies to recreate Facebook-like experiences for their individual devices or operating systems'. The company claimed that once it discovered Cambridge Analytica's transgression, it immediately took swift action to rectify the situation.

Manufacturers of smartphones and tablets are allowed to save and store Facebook user information on their own servers; without any extra oversight or safety precautions to prevent misuse.

"This was flagged internally as a privacy issue", Sandy Parakilas, who was leading third-party advertising and privacy compliance for Facebook's platform at the time, said.

Facebook disputed this claim, noting in a blog post Sunday that "friends' information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends". "BlackBerry users seem to have been turned into data dealers, unknowingly and unwillingly".

  • Delia Davidson