Facebook defends provision of user data to device makers

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(FinancialPress) — Facebook‘s handling of user data is getting raked once more. The company recently had its practices of sharing personal information with mobile device manufacturers exposed.

A NY Times investigation shows just how much information is being served by (FB) to companies such as  Apple (AAPL), Samsung (SSNLF) and Microsoft (MSFT). The dataset includes info such as relationship status, education, religion, work, political preferences, and even events the user has RSVP‘d to.

Facebook, on its part, responded to the article by confirming parts of it and denying others.

The Mark Zuckerberg-led company said that it only gave access to user data to those companies in the past so that they would be able to develop versions of the Facebook app that could run on different operating systems and phones. They claim that this was at a time when smartphones didn‘t have the same capabilities as they do nowadays, as a means of promoting accelerated software advances.

“These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences,” wrote Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships in the blog post.

“We are not aware of any abuse by these companies,” he added. He also highlighted that Facebook is “winding down access” to the software.

The Times also reveals that the social platform even gave those companies “access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders.”

Facebook countered that argument by saying that “friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends.”

The range and depth of Facebook‘s liberal use of its users data has garnered widespread concern – again.

“It’s worrying that so many companies had access to this data, particularly in light of security and privacy concerns,” said technology policy expert Michael Veale, of the University College London. He added that “hugely possible that other apps on some devices could have been mining this data if the privacy and security controls were lax.”


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Ruben is a South American writer who focuses on the state of the cryptocurrency, cannabis and tech industries worldwide.

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