Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends
As Facebook sought to become the world’s dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users’ personal information. Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers — including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung — over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, “like” buttons and address books.
But the partnerships raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. 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. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing.
Most of the partnerships remain in effect, though Facebook began winding them down in April.
"These partners signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences," said Ime Archibong, Facebook's vice president of product partnerships. "We are not aware of any abuse by these companies."
Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends Facebook defends sharing user data with phone makers (CNN)