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Facebook Denies Claims Mobile Data Sharing Broke Privacy Pledges

05 June 2018
Facebook Denies Claims Mobile Data Sharing Broke Privacy Pledges

An app developer gave information on up to 87 million Facebook users to Cambridge Analytica mostly without their permission, setting off a scandal over data privacy when it was reported this year. Now, according to an exposé published yesterday in The New York Times, it seems that is not entirely true.

An older BlackBerry device, meanwhile, appeared to access many categories of data, including messages, while tapping data about friends and others one step removed on the network, the Times found. "And if we find that someone improperly used data, we're going to ban them from Facebook and tell everyone affected", he added.

It is not yet clear what legal ramifications this NYT article will have on Facebook, as this could be construed as proof that Facebook directly lied to regulators.

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.

David Cicilline of Rhode Island, the top Democrat on the House antitrust subcommittee, responded even more harshly.

In a blog post, Facebook confirmed some parts of the Times' report but disputed others.

But the report raised concerns that massive databases on users and their friends - including personal data and photographs - could be in the hands of device makers as was the case with Cambridge Analytica.

Blumenthal and Markey also implied that Zuckerberg wasn't totally accurate when he told Congress that users had "complete control" over how they shared info and how people saw it.

"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. "It feels a lot like we've been here before, @facebook", he wrote.

If Facebook said that it removed open-access to your data, but access was still granted to 60 companies, how is that not lying?
It's why we announced in April that we're winding down access to them.

Zuckerberg has recently apologised for the fact that Facebook often didn't always protect user privacy and didn't consider how its service could be misused by malicious actors until it was too late. Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements.

This is coming a few months after it was revealed that the social networking giant had shared data of up to 87 million users with Cambridge Analytica, which may have influenced the USA 2015 elections.

Lax policies around sharing data with third parties led to the leak of information to consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on successful Republican campaigns, including that of President Donald Trump. That action was taken years ago, well before the scandal of this year broke.

Many makers of phones and tablets allow people to use Facebook without actually opening the Facebook app, by integrating some of its functionality into their own software. According to the Washington Post, the decision comes after Koum clashed with Facebook ...

"Facebook and other data collectors, including these device manufacturers, should be prepared to come before Congress so that we can get a better grasp of the entire data collection ecosystem", New Jersey Rep.