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

Share

This sharing of user data continued even after Facebook declared that it would stop sharing such data with outsiders, according to the New York Times.

"Consumers have the right to know how their personal information is being used; and the companies we trust with our information have a critical responsibility to protect it", she added.

Apple has confirmed it is among those to have stopped using the APIs, and said that it had mainly employed them to let users post pictures and other information without first having to open the Facebook app.

US Congressman David Cicilline, who has introduced a bill meant to curb Facebook and Google's influence in the news industry, said the Times report raises questions about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg's testimony before Congress earlier this year. Even users who had turned platform off to avoid this kind of abusive data collection could have their data accessed, the Times found, a serious violation of privacy.

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal exposed how Facebook was selling access to your and your friends' data for the purposes of political engineering, the company promised that third-parties no longer had that capability. It also gathered "identifying information for almost 295,000 Facebook users" by retrieving data on second-degree contacts, the newspaper said. It doesn't think it's violated the FTC deal, but former FTC official Jessica Rich told the Times that "under Facebook's interpretation, the exception swallows the rule". The data transfer was based on a connection the phone's software was allowed to make, directly to Facebook's information.

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said that a New York Times report appears to show that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lied about the company sharing users' data.

Many online companies use APIs - including NPR, which relies on them to distribute online stories to member stations.

A Blackberry spokesman said the company "did not collect or mine" the data given by Facebook. "You have complete control over who sees it and how you share it".

Facebook announced in April that it was winding down access to the device-integrated APIs because fewer people rely on them today. But it exempts "service provider [s]" who help Facebook carry out basic functions of its site.

Under scrutiny this time is the company's practice of sharing information about its users with dozens of smartphone and tablet makers. These third-party developers were not allowed to offer versions of Facebook to people and, instead, used the Facebook information people shared with them to build completely new experiences.

"When we heard back from Cambridge Analytica that they had told us that they weren't using the data and deleted it, we considered it a closed case", Zuckerberg said on Capitol Hill in April. "We shouldn't have taken their word for it".

The report comes in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, sparking calls from lawmakers across the world to investigate the company's practices related to its users' privacy.

Apple, Samsung and Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

Share