Facebook is not having a great year. The social media giant found itself in hot water not long ago when news of the Cambridge Analytica fiasco broke.
In case you don’t remember, more than 87 million Facebook profiles were collected by Cambridge Analytica that were allegedly used to influence the 2016 election. It caused such an uproar that CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to testify about it in front of a U.S. Senate joint committee in April.
The story doesn’t seem to end there. Now, it appears Facebook has betrayed its users once again by giving their data to dozens of companies. Yikes!
Can we really trust Facebook ever again?
A new report by The New York Times (NYT) accuses Facebook of breaching its users’ trust once again. It points out that Facebook has had a data-sharing agreement with more than 60 companies for several years, and most are still in effect.
The companies in question are smartphone and tablet manufacturers like Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, Samsung, and Microsoft. According to the NYT, those manufacturers were able to access data of Facebook users’ friends without explicit consent. This could be a violation of a 2011 FTC consent decree which barred companies like Facebook from overriding users’ privacy settings without explicit consent.
It says the agreement was put in place in the company’s early days, before app stores were around. This way, manufacturers could provide customers with a Facebook friendly experience.
However, the NYT said with this agreement, gadget makers were able to access data that includes relationship status, political leanings, religion and more. Even if data sharing was turned off, manufacturers allegedly could access the data of users’ friends.
Of course Facebook is denying the allegations
Facebook VP of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong responded to these accusations in a blog post titled, “Why we disagree with the New York Times.”
Archibong said, “Given that these APIs enabled other companies to recreate the Facebook experience, we controlled them tightly from the get-go. These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences. 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. 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.”
With that said, what do you believe? We’ve heard Facebook denials previously only to find out that it wasn’t telling the truth. I’m not buying the denials, at least not until further proof.
Listen to Kim’s free Komando on Demand podcast
If you follow Kim, you know she’s been talking about the Facebook privacy scandal from the beginning. Listen to this free podcast where she talks to some of the leading technology and data breach attorneys, John Yanchunis and Steven Teppler, about what’s in store for Facebook and also what we can do to protect ourselves in this age of dwindling privacy. It’s become clear that your information is the currency of the 21st century.
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