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Facebook exposed users’ personal data in data-sharing partnership

“Every piece of content that you share on Facebook you own. You have complete control over who sees it and how you share it,” said Mark Zuckerberg in front of Congress a couple of months ago. But his company may not be taking privacy protection as seriously as he claimed during the Congress hearings.

For the past 10 years, Facebook has been in a data-sharing partnership with over 60 computer, tablet and smartphone manufacturers, including Amazon, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, HTC and Blackberry, exposing users to privacy and security risks, accuses The New York Times in an investigative report.

The newspaper says the partnership might violate a 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission that states Facebook needs explicit user consent to provide third parties with their data. Facebook facilitated access to users’ personal data and to the data of their friends, breaching its own privacy policies.

The social network disagrees with the accusations in the New York Times and claims the decision concerned device-integrated APIs to “recreate Facebook-like experiences” on mobile devices, reads a blog post written by Ime Archibong, VP of Product Partnerships at Facebook. The company confirms some of the partners stored the data on their servers.

“Partners could not integrate the user’s Facebook features with their devices without the user’s permission. And our partnership and engineering teams approved the Facebook experiences these companies built,” Archibong writes.

“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. We are not aware of any abuse by these companies.”

About the author

Luana PASCU

From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.

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