Data sharing deals plague Facebook

The report stated that the deals let Facebook expand its reach, and gave manufacturers access to popular Facebook features such as messaging, like buttons, and contact information that could be synchronised with address books.

"Facebook allowed the device 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", the NYT report said.

In interviews to NYT, Facebook defended its data-sharing agreement and asserted that these are consistent with its privacy policies, the FTC agreement and pledges to users. In the blog post Sunday, Facebook said it gave device makers access to software only so they could build versions of Facebook that worked on different phones or operating systems.

And now you can add about 60 of your favorite companies that produce smartphones and computers.

Vladeck said the additional penalties could include a court-ordered monitor of Facebook's business practices, injunctions against particular ways of using of consumers' data or heightened monitoring by the FTC.

Here's a short list of all the companies that might have gotten their hands on your very intimate Facebook data without your knowledge: Global Science Research, S.C.L. Group (Cambridge Analytica's parent company), AggregateIQ.

Newly at issue is a series of relationships brokered over the past decade between Facebook and roughly 60 firms, including Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, HTC, Microsoft and Samsung.

Kogan developed an app that required people to sign in using their Facebook accounts - and that then harvested data about those users and their friends, that was then used by Cambridge Analytica to develop psychological profiles of US voters ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

While Facebook says these agreements were important and that it had tight control over these partnerships from the get-go, even company employees weren't happy allowing outside companies to access their users' data.

This is but another skeleton out of Facebook's closet, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw founder Mark Zuckerberg in front of the US Congress. In fact, Facebook appeared to have stonewalled the Times and another news organization before the first wave of stories about Cambridge Analytica in March, then quibbled over verbal semantics and pointed the blame at people associated with Cambridge Analytica rather than take stock of what Facebook had done wrong. "It's why we announced in April that we're winding down access to them", the company wrote. The company says it has already ended 22 of the partnerships.

"This was flagged internally as a privacy issue", Sandy Parakilas, a former leader of the platform's privacy compliance unit, told The Times.

Facebook disputed that finding, saying that "friends' information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends". At the center of that consent decree is a requirement that Facebook be more transparent about the data it collects about its users.

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