Facebook Again Botches a Data Crisis

"And our partnership and engineering teams approved the Facebook experiences these companies built", Archibong said.

The report says that the company hasn't only been sharing user data with their device makers but also their friends', as well. Now, according to an exposé published yesterday in The New York Times, it seems that is not entirely true. While this sounds relatively harmless, Facebook has now been caught giving Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Blackberry and at least 56 other manufacturers "deep access" to each user and their friends without consent. The New York Times says the data shared included Facebook users' education history, relationship status, work, political leanings, religion, and upcoming events.

They said its partnerships were governed by contracts that strictly limited use of the data, including any stored on partners' servers, adding that they knew of no cases where the information had been misused.

The counterargument: Facebook responded to the article directly in a press release. "Sure looks like Zuckerberg lied to Congress about whether users have "complete control" over who sees our data on Facebook", he tweeted.

"This needs to be investigated and the people responsible need to be held accountable", the top Democrat on the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee continued.

Archibong assures that this practice is now winding down due to the popularity of the Android and iOS apps, with Facebook ending 22 of the 60 partnerships already.

Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has testified in front of US Congress and the European Parliament in an attempt to reassure users and governments alike that Facebook is not mishandling the vast amounts of personal data collected by its platform.

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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. "This includes limiting the way in which people's data is shared and respecting legal requirements".

An arrangement with Apple, for example, allowed Facebook users to download profile photos for their friends and use them in their iPhone contact lists.

According to The Times most of these partnerships are still in effect, though some began to be wound down in April. Now, with nearly all smartphone users having access to a fully-featured Facebook app, the partnerships' reason for existing is moot.

"It's worrying that so many companies had access to this data, particularly in light of security and privacy concerns", said Michael Veale, a technology policy expert at University College London.

In March, Facebook came under heavy fire in the wake of news that Cambridge Analytica had misused user data in the lead-up to the US presidential election. Most notably, this was done after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that now has governments across the world demanding more protection for consumers.

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum is set to quit the company and leave his post as a member of Facebook's board of directors.

The Times specifically takes issue with Facebook's practice of letting these device partners "override sharing restrictions".

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