Because Facebook considers the device manufacturers to be "insiders", the companies can also get data about users' friends, regardless of whether they've turned off sharing of data with third parties.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Facebook formed deals with at least 60 makers of cell phones and other devices allowing them access to users' personal information and that of their Facebook friends, without explicit consent. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users' friends who believed they had barred any sharing.
In March, Facebook was forced on the defensive after it was revealed that a company that used its platform, Cambridge Analytica, had harvested data in unethical ways for political purposes. A reporter who had about 550 friends was able to harvest identifiable information of over 295,000 Facebook users through the BlackBerry Hub app.
Unlike developers that provide games and services to Facebook users, the device partners can use Facebook data only to provide versions of "the Facebook experience", the officials were quoted as saying.
The company has since terminated 22 partnerships with device makers, he added.Shares of Facebook were down 1.8% pre-market at 6:34 am in NY on Monday, following a similar trend in Europe where it was down 2.2% at the same time in Frankfurt.Facebook is retooling its approach amid a global consumer and regulatory backlash.
If we've learned anything from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, its that our personal Facebook data has some real value.
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Among other controls, Archibong insists that Facebook made partners sign agreements that prevented user information from being exploited.
Apple, whose CEO has criticized Facebook over its privacy holes, told the Times that it had used its access to allow users to post photos without opening the Facebook app. Quartz reached out to Apple, Blackberry, Amazon, and Samsung for comment, and will update this story with any response.
Moreover, he added, "We are not aware of any abuse by these companies".
Brace yourselves, Facebook users: another privacy scandal may be afoot.
"It is shocking that this practice may still continue six years later, and it appears to contradict Facebook's testimony to Congress that all friend permissions were disabled", he said.
"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.
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. Usually collected when users log into their accounts through the Facebook app.
"Facebook's secret data sharing partnerships raise urgent new reasons for stronger privacy protections", said Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal.