After being embroiled into controversies over its data sharing practices, it turns out that Facebook had granted inappropriate access to its users’ data to more than 60 device makers, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, and Samsung.
According to a lengthy report published by The New York Times, the social network giant struck data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device manufacture companies so that they could offer Facebook messaging functions, “Like” buttons, address books, and other features without requiring their users to install a separate app.
The agreements were reportedly made over the last 10 years, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones.
Most notably, the publication suggests that the partnerships could be in breach of a 2011 consent decree by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which barred Facebook from granting other companies access to data of users’ Facebook friends without their explicit consent.
During the Cambridge Analytica scandal revealed in March this year, Facebook stated that it already ceased allowing such third-party access in 2015 only, but the publication suggests that this does not include “makers of cellphones, tablets and other hardware.”
Facebook is under heavy fire since the revelation that consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica had misused data of 87 million Facebook users to help Donald Trump win the US presidency in 2016.
In a recent test conducted by an NYT reporter on a 2013 Blackberry device using his Facebook account with roughly 550 friends, a BlackBerry app called “The Hub” was still able to harvest private data from 556 of his friends, including their religious and political views.
Not only that, but The Hub was also able to acquire “identifying information” for up to 294,258 friends of his Facebook friends.