Here's What You Need to Know About Facebook's New Data Scandal

Facebook’s latest privacy blunder has already attracted congressional ire		
		
	Devin Coldewey

       @	   
   	8 hours

Facebook’s latest privacy blunder has already attracted congressional ire Devin Coldewey @ 8 hours

Rep. David Cicilline, the ranking member of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, tweeted that Zuckerberg lied to Congress about whether or not users had "complete control" over who has access to user data on his site.

Under some of the agreements, device makers could access the data of users' friends, even if they believed that they had barred sharing, the Times reported citing company officials.

The deals may have breached Facebook's compliance with a 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ordering the company to keep users' information private.

'In the early days of mobile, the demand for Facebook outpaced our ability to build versions of the product that worked on every phone or operating system, ' Ime Archibong, Facebook's VP of Product Partnerships, wrote in a Sunday statement responding to the Times report.

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Kogan developed an app that required people to sign in using their Facebook accounts - and that then harvested data about those users and their friends, that was then used by Cambridge Analytica to develop psychological profiles of USA voters ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

This was tightly regulated with "signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any other goal than to recreate Facebook-like experiences", according to Archibong, and had to be approved by Facebook to prevent any misuse. Apple and BlackBerry said that they only get enough information to be able to view users' messages or post to their Facebook accounts without opening up the app. Microsoft says that all Facebook data it collects is stored locally on the phone and never on Microsoft's servers.

When Facebook first started out, the company made at least 60 deals with device OEMs to preload the application on their devices. "Facebook has not really explained how it obtained consent for the sharing of this data", he said in an interview. He was also able to access unique identifiers for 294,258 users connected to his friends list.

In March, the FTC confirmed that it is investigating the Cambridge Analytica case, with Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC's consumer protection bureau, citing substantial concerns about Facebook's privacy practices.

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"What we have been trying to determine is whether Facebook has knowingly handed over user data elsewhere without explicit consent", Winkelmeier-Becker told The New York Times.

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. It argued that those device partners are not third parties but are, in fact, "service providers" and are, therefore, entitled to the same data access as Facebook itself.

The company has been under intense scrutiny in the past few months after it became public that British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had accessed private information of 87 million Facebook users. As such, it offered APIs to allow device-makers to "recreate Facebook-like experiences of their individual devices or operating systems". Apple tells the Times its access to the data ended in September; Amazon and Samsung declined to comment.

Such integrations were perhaps necessary at a time when smartphones didn't have adequate specifications to run Facebook apps.

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