Facebook Denies Claims Mobile Data Sharing Broke Privacy Pledges

Posted June 06, 2018

They said its partnerships were governed by contracts that strictly limited use of the data, including any stored on partners' servers, adding that they knew of no cases where the information had been misused. A prominent American daily says the company has given phone makers vast access to personal information of its subscribers.

"You might think that Facebook or the device manufacturer is trustworthy".

But according to a New York Times story (paywall), Facebook hasn't been counting mobile devices as third parties, leaving companies like Blackberry, Samsung, and Apple an open door to take and store information without explicit user consent.

Partners signed agreements preventing personal information "from being used for any other goal than to recreate Facebook-like experiences", he said.

Facebook has also said that the kind of access to users' data that Cambridge Analytica exploited in 2014 was cut off in 2015, when Facebook shut down its API for giving friends' data to apps.

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A top lawmaker in Congress is questioning whether Facebook allowed two Chinese telecommunications firms with alleged ties to their country's government to harness data about the social network's users, potentially subjecting their personal information to new privacy and security risks. The reporter discovered that one Blackberry app was able to acquire "identifying information" for up to 295,000 Facebook users. That data then flowed to the BlackBerry app known as The Hub, where BlackBerry users can view all of their messages and social media accounts.

Facebook quickly rebutted the Times' story in an official blog posting yesterday, stating that such device-specific access was necessary a decade ago when feature phones dominated the market and smartphones had just become available.

Vladeck said the additional penalties could include a court-ordered monitor of Facebook's business practices, injunctions against particular ways of using of consumers' data or heightened monitoring by the FTC.

"New revelations that Facebook provided access to users' personal information, including religion, political preferences, and relationship status, to dozens of mobile device manufacturers without users' explicit consent are deeply concerning", they said in a letter. Some apps (these device makers) still have access to friend data.

In a post challenging the New York Times report, Facebook VP of product partnerships Ime Archibong said the company is not aware of any abuse, which isn't an assurance that no such abuse occurred.

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Archibong said that the companies it partnered with had signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any goal other than to recreate Facebook-like experiences. This new exposé is simply adding fuel to the fire, and it's not quite clear how Facebook is going to get through this without some serious repercussions.

"This is very different from the public APIs used by third-party developers, like Aleksandr Kogan", Archibong said on Monday, referring to the Cambridge University-affiliated researcher who is a key player in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Zuckerberg has recently apologised for the fact that Facebook often didn't always protect user privacy and didn't consider how its service could be misused by malicious actors until it was too late.

A look at the lawsuit filed against Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg and why he's being accused of weaponizing data.

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