Facebook denies report it gave extensive user data to phone makers

On the other hand, saying "We created these APIs to fill a public need", isn't exactly refuting the notion that these APIs shared more than the usual amount of private data with companies.

A New York Times investigation published late Sunday revealed the scope of data-sharing deals Facebook struck over the years with companies like Apple, Samsung and Microsoft.

The New York Times found that the social networking service concluded data-sharing partnerships with device making companies to expand its reach and let them offer their clients popular Facebook features such as messaging and address books. This deal supposedly continued even after Facebook made it known it would comply with the Federal Trade Commission's consent decree, which was meant to put a stop to the gathering of data without a direct agreement between the party and the firm.

Facebook has rejected claims by the New York Times that its sharing of personal data with smartphone firms represented a breach of privacy pledges that it had made to its members and a USA regulator.

Facebook said the circumstances were "very different" from those involved in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the London-based consultancy is alleged to have improperly obtained data on up to 87 million users for lobbying purposes.

"These partners signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any other objective than to recreate Facebook-like experiences", said Archibong.

"This is yet another concerning example of companies collecting, sharing, and exploiting users' data in completely unexpected ways", commented Privacy International's legal officer Ailidh Callander.

Under scrutiny this time is the company's practice of sharing information about its users with dozens of smartphone and tablet makers. It also said that the features couldn't be used with permission and that its engineering teams approved all of them.

Apple said it has stopped using the APIs and that it used them to allow users to post pictures and other information without having to open the Facebook app.

Mark Zuckerberg had admitted that data of users may have been shared with Cambridge Analytica.

However, it's come to light that said access ended up being "deep access", whereby the companies could take a peek at both a user's data and that of their friends, all without their explicit consent.

While Facebook claimed that the Cambridge Analytica scandal was the end of open access to user data, this NYT article proves that that is not exactly true. Through a combination of legal agreements and software, Facebook "allowed companies to recreate Facebook-like experiences for their individual devices or operating systems", the social giant acknowledged in a blog post Monday.

Archibong went on to say that Facebook is "not aware of any abuse by these companies".

"This was flagged internally as a privacy issue", Sandy Parakilas, who then led Facebook's privacy compliance, told The Times.

'It is shocking that this practice may still continue six years later, and it appears to contradict Facebook's testimony to Congress that all friend permissions were disabled'.

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