Facebook gave Apple, Microsoft and, er, BlackBerry 'deep access' to user data

Facebook's agreements with device makers are under scrutiny

"Sure looks like [Facebook CEO Mark] Zuckerberg lied to Congress about whether users have "complete control" over who sees our data on Facebook", Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law, tweeted on Sunday.

Warner and a slew of other politicians have said that they're concerned about the potential for Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE to give the Chinese government backdoor access into the data about Americans using their devices.

Over the last decade, Facebook shared the private data of Facebook users with at least 60 device-making companies including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung, according to an investigation published by the New York Times.

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.

According to the Times, Facebook didn't treat these device makers as a third-party, allowing these manufacturers to access user data without their consent.

The firestorm erupted in March when it emerged that Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm with ties to President Donald Trump's campaign, gained improper accessto tens of millions of Facebook users' data.

Facebook users who are concerned about their privacy may need to worry about more than the apps that they or their friends download.

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Parakilas told the Financial Times that while Facebook said it had blocked apps from acquiring the data held by app users' friends, "in the case of hardware manufacturers they didn't do that". And Facebook's stock has since recovered to trade close to its all-time high. In April, multiple committees on Capitol Hill had peppered him with questions about Facebook's dealings with Cambridge Analytica. "Contrary to claims by The New York Times, friends' information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends", Archibong wrote in a post about the Times report.

If we've learned anything from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, its that our personal Facebook data has some real value.

The Times said the Facebook messages and data were routed to a BlackBerry app called the Hub, which was created to aggregate and centralize instant messages, emails, text messages and notifications from many sources, including social-networking services.

A reporter for The New York Times found that once he'd connected his Facebook account to a BlackBerry phone, it requested his profile data including users ID, name and picture, retrieved his private messages and responses and the user ID of each person he was communicating with.

Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, said in a statement that The Times's reporting "raises important questions about transparency and potential privacy risks for Facebook users". "These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform", Facebook vice president Ime Archibong told NYT. And Facebook stressed in a blog post it is "not aware of any abuse by these companies".

Earlier Monday, Facebook disputed a a New York Times report about how it shares data with device makers from Apple and Amazon to Samsung.

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.

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