Did Facebook Give Your Data to Apple and Samsung? Probably Not

A woman looks at the Facebook logo on an iPad in this

They're privy to Facebook users' information but it's nothing like the access that led to the Cambridge Analytica controversy, the social network said.

David Cicilline, the ranking member of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, took aim at Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Twitter Sunday following a New York Times report detailing the social network's data sharing practices.

The practice may have violated Facebook's 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to be more transparent about its privacy policies, the report notes.

"Given that these APIs enabled other companies to recreate the Facebook experience, we controlled them tightly from the get-go", Archibong asserts in a new blog post. "Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users' friends who believed they had barred any sharing". Responding to the article, Vice President of Facebook's Product Partnerships Ime Archibong said that the partnerships were necessary due to high demand for Facebook apps across multiple platforms. It monitored what data was transmitted when a reporter's Facebook account with 550 friends was connected to a BlackBerry.

Numerous partnerships, with companies such as Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung, remain in effect even after Facebook began to quietly unwind them in April, according to a lengthy report in the New York Times.

Apple was among the companies that used device-integrated APIs to serve up a version of Facebook on its hardware, but the deals are now under scrutiny.

In other words, the Hub was doing exactly what it was meant to do, and Facebook gave BlackBerry a private API so that it could function as designed. Furthermore, the app was able to uniquely identify another 294,258 people. But by then, Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan had already created a quiz app that allowed him to download an estimated 87 million Facebook profiles and then share the data with political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

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

In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress to answer questions about data the company provided to third parties about their users.

Apple acknowledged having private access to Facebook data, but said that stopped last September. As such, it offered APIs to allow device-makers to "recreate Facebook-like experiences of their individual devices or operating systems".

But Sandy Parakilas, a former Facebook employee who oversaw third-party advertising and privacy compliance for Facebook's platform, told the Times that the data being shared with device makers was flagged as a privacy issue as early as 2012. In other words, they don't need to ask for additional consent from users just as Facebook doesn't need to.

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.

Facebook has been hit with another data-sharing scandal, again over the access that it gives or gave third parties to the data not only of its users, but also of their friends.

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