Published: Tue, June 05, 2018
Industry | By Faith Ward

Facebook gave Apple, Microsoft and, er, BlackBerry 'deep access' to user data

Facebook gave Apple, Microsoft and, er, BlackBerry 'deep access' to user data

From there, the BlackBerry Hub could access information from 556 of the user's friends; including relationship status, political leanings, and events.

Zuckerberg appeared before congress in April following the revelation that Facebook had exposed data on up to 87 million users to Cambridge Analytica, a research firm that worked with the Trump campaign.

Even before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, Facebook had data-sharing partnerships with the device makers, the report said citing company officials, adding that most of the deals remain in effect.

However, Facebook blasted back at the Times report, saying the newspaper has misinterpreted the objective 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.

The agreements that Facebook entered raise "concerns about the company's privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree" with the Federal Trade Commission, the report said.

"Given that these APIs enabled other companies to recreate the Facebook experience, we controlled them tightly from the get-go", it states.

But - if that's true - why did it not also terminate these contracts with device manufacturers that gave companies the ability to do the exact same thing as what Cambridge Analytica was doing?

Facebook has been taking steps to audit any data abuse it uncovers from the past.

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"This is yet another concerning example of companies collecting, sharing, and exploiting users' data in completely unexpected ways", commented Privacy International's legal officer Ailidh Callander.

Facebook defended the use of what it calls "device-integrated APIs" on Monday.

Apple said it has stopped using the APIs and that it used them to allow users to post pictures and other information without having to open the Facebook app.

Archibong says that friends' information was only accessible on devices where people explicitly made a decision to share their information.

Facebook began shutting down use of the APIs in April as part of its response to the Cambridge Analytica row.

So can I stop my information from going to device makers?

Facebook is being investigated by Australia's Privacy Commissioner over the scandal.

The integration let users speed up logins to their social-media accounts via a menu in the iOS settings app. IPhone users also had the option to synchronize their contacts with Facebook and Twitter. They said the new reports only heightened the need for additional scrutiny - in Congress and at the FTC - focused on Facebook's business practices. These partnerships were put in place starting in 2007, with the objective of giving device manufacturers access to Facebook features, while simultaneously spreading the use of Facebook into the mobile sphere. He stated that if a user does not want their data shared with a third-party company, all they have to do is opt-out.

Apple also showcased a new system that makes it more hard to gather information about users as they browse across the web.

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