facebookappFacebook forged an agreement with at least 60 device makers including Apple and Samsung to provide access to large swathes of user data without explicit consent, in a move that may have violated a 2011 Federal Trade Commission consent decree.

According to a lengthy report in The New York Times, the social network made the deals so that device makers could use APIs to include Facebook messaging functions, "Like" buttons, address books, and other features without requiring users to install a separate app. The deals were reportedly made over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones.

Most of the partnerships remain in effect, though Facebook began winding them down in April. However, in a recent test conducted by NYT on a 2013 Blackberry device, using a reporter's Facebook account, an app called "The Hub" was still able to harvest details on 558 of his friends, including their political and religious views. Not only that, the app was also able to access "identifying information" on 294,258 friends of his friends.

Facebook has hit back against the claims in the report. In a blog post titled "Why We Disagree with The New York Times", the company said it created the APIs for device makers so that they could provide Facebook features on operating systems before apps or app stores where available.

Given that these APIs enabled other companies to recreate the Facebook experience, we controlled them tightly from the get-go. These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences. Partners could not integrate the user’s Facebook features with their devices without the user’s permission. And our partnership and engineering teams approved the Facebook experiences these companies built. Contrary to claims by the New York Times, friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends. We are not aware of any abuse by these companies.

Facebook came under major scrutiny in March following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the data of 50 million users was misused in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has since testified in front of congress in an attempt to answer questions about Facebook's handling of user data.

The social networking giant is already facing an ongoing investigation by the FTC, which is looking into whether Facebook violated an agreement reached with the agency in 2011. The FTC investigation was launched when it found that Facebook had told users that third-party apps on the social media site wouldn't be allowed to access their data, when in fact they were able to obtain almost all personal information about a user.

Top Rated Comments

martyjmclean Avatar
52 months ago
I’m so glad I’ve permanently deleted my Facebook account, I rarely used it anyway.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ugahairydawgs Avatar
52 months ago
Another good reminder of the fact that generally when the service you are using is free you become the product.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Beachguy Avatar
52 months ago
I’m so glad I’ve permanently deleted my Facebook account, I rarely used it anyway.
If you "delete" your profile on FB, it is still there; it's just hidden. Any data you provided remains in their realm.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thisisnotmyname Avatar
52 months ago
How is anyone surprised that Facebook has been using your data, it's explicitly their reason for existing.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
star_nerdy Avatar
52 months ago
How is this any different than showing a like button on another website?
Because it allows partners aka Apple and friends to look at your data and your friend data.

And understand that this targets more than you. If you know the theories on social behavior and system design (what I’m earning my PhD in), you can target people by proxy. I can easily target your friend to manipulate you. It’s not as difficult when you’re dealing with a narrow issue. It’s hyper targeted marketing at its worst.

You may not care and that’s fine. But if you can’t be manipulated your brother, sister, spouse, friends can be and they can manipulate you. It’s like a virus. You can do all you want to avoid getting it, but you’re as vulnerable as the weakest person in your system.

Companies should be banned from targeted advertisement that targets individuals.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
merkinmuffley Avatar
52 months ago
“Gave” isn’t quite right. Facebook sold the data.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp to Let Users Leave Group Chats 'Silently' and View Rich Link Previews in Status Updates

Tuesday May 17, 2022 3:07 am PDT by
WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will allow users to "silently" leave group chats hosted by the messaging platform instead of all members of the group being notified when they do. As it stands, when someone leaves a group chat, WhatsApp announces their exit to the entire group, making the act of leaving very public. It's not possible right now to leave a group quietly, but WhatsApp...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 15.5 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday May 16, 2022 9:57 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 15.5, the fifth major update to the tvOS operating system that first launched in September 2021. tvOS 15.5 comes more than two months after the release of tvOS 15.4, an update that brought support for captive WiFi networks. tvOS 15.5 can be downloaded over the air on the Apple TV through the Settings app by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌‌‌Apple...