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Facebook Gave Device Makers Including Apple And Samsung More User Data Through Its APIs

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Facebook is questioning a New York Times report that said it shared data inappropriately with gadget producers from Apple and Samsung. The article says smartphone makers have access to your data on Facebook and that they have it so they can make Facebook apps to suit their devices- this just means that they want to control how your Facebook data stays on their gadgets.

According to The New York Times, Facebook may have agreed with manufactures to access user information and their friends but not on the Cambridge Analytica scale. Cambridge Analytica was accused of taking user data from the biggest social media platform in the world and using it for political and business purposes without the consent of users thereby profiting off you and your friends. The London based political consulting firm was eventually forced to shut down and file for bankruptcy.

But the partnerships, whose scope has not previously been reported, raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.

But Facebook has come out to deny the latest brewing user data misuse report in that it said that it has now started the process of dissolving the pacts as far back as a decade when device makers would pre-install its app for users. Those were the days when your smartphone maker would allow connect with contacts who may be on Facebook by using the social media giant’s software. Facebook’s VP of Product Partnerships IMe Archibong said in a blog post yesterday that “It’s hard to remember now but back then there were no app stores. So companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube had to work directly with operating system and device manufacturers to get their products into people’s hands. This took a lot of time — and Facebook was not able to get to everyone.”Archibong added that “This was something I experienced firsthand as a Blackberry user who relied on Facebook and Messenger to stay in touch with family and friends back in Nigeria.”

The social media company according to Archibong approved use of its APIs by the hardware manufacturers for the reasons stated above and has since terminated about 22 of such agreements even though the New York Times article says the partnership was entered with over 60 hardware makers.

But this did not go down well with investors as you may expect. With the fear of another scandal brewing barely a month after the Cambridge Analaytica one, shares of Facebook were down by about 1.8 percent early this morning in New York and 2.2 percent Europe (Frankfurt).

While the article says virtually all of your data could be in the hands of your favourite smartphone makers, Facebook says it hasn’t seen any reports of abuse on the part of the smartphone makers even though they may have data such as your religion, political affiliations, date of birth, education, upcoming events and relationship status among others.

The news is still fresh and we’ll see how investors take this at close of business today.

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