Facebook gave Apple, Samsung, Microsoft too much freedom

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Testifies At Joint Senate Commerce  Judiciary Hearing

In interviews to The New York Times, Facebook however defended its data sharing agreement and asserted that these are consistent with its privacy policies, the FTC agreement and pledges to users.

"Sure looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress about whether users have "complete control" over who sees our data on Facebook", said David Cicilline, a Democrat who serves on the House Judiciary committee.

The paper reported that Facebook shared users' personal information with at least 60 smartphone firms, allowing them to access users' friends' data without obtaining explicit consent.

But the new revelations could spell new trouble for Facebook, which is already facing an investigation from the Federal Trade Commission over potential violations of a consent decree the two organizations signed in 2011.

In the case of the private APIs that Facebook supplied to the makers of phones, tablets, smart TVs, and other devices, the company's Ime Archibong, VP of Product Partnerships, said in the company's statement that it had "controlled them tightly".

A new report by the Times found that Facebook shared extensive data about its users - including religious affiliations, political beliefs, relationship statuses and more - with device-makers.

These partners [device-maker companies] signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any other objective than to recreate Facebook-like experiences.

Though the company claimed that the company's device partners can use the data to only provide "the Facebook experience", these companies can access data about a user's Facebook friends, even those who have denied the social media company permission to share information with third parties.

This, of course, did let device makers access Facebook data. Blackberry said it did not "collect or mine" Facebook data itself.

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It said information such as photos was only accessible on devices if users had chosen to share the data with those friends.

Most notably, this was done after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that now has governments across the world demanding more protection for consumers.

The Times piece uses the example of BlackBerry's Hub app, which aims to consolidate a user's messages from various platforms-from Facebook notifications to Gmail emails-into one interface. According to a story in the New York Times on Sunday, this has been going on for over ten years.

Archibong said Facebook approved each of the experiences that were built, and that they worked differently to its public, platform APIs.

The 2011 decree prohibits the company from giving third party companies access to user data without their explicit permission. "This took a lot of time - and Facebook was not able to get to everyone". Facebook couldn't develop its own mobile apps for these devices because there would have been no way to get them onto the phones.

Facebook said in April it would begin winding down access to its device-integrated APIs, but the New York Times says that many of those partnerships are still in effect.

Amazon, Apple and Samsung also did not respond to a request for comment.

Facebook says it made deals with around 60 companies, from Apple, Amazon and Blackberry to HTC, Microsoft and Samsung, to "recreate Facebook-like experiences" on their devices.

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