FACEBOOK is caught up in a fresh privacy scandal after admitting to handing over user’s personal info to more than 60 companies.
Worse still, Facebook reportedly handed over this info without permission and some of the rogue deals are still in place.
Facebook admitted handing info over to more than 60 tech companies
A damning New York Times investigation revealed how Facebook has “data-sharing partnerships” with a host of device makers.
Facebook has since admitted that these include gadget fan favourites like Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung.
Multiple deals set up over the last decade gave these companies “deep access” your info.
“Some device partners can retrieve Facebook users’ relationship status, religion, political leaning and upcoming events, among other data,” the NYT reported.
Facebook supposedly began to “unwind” these deals in April, but the amount of data collecting to date could be staggering.
Earlier this year, it emerged that people using Facebook apps were unwittingly giving away info on their friends to developers without their friends’ permission.
Facebook killed the rule (which had been in place since 2007) that let developers do this in 2014, making it impossible for app makers to collect data on Facebook users’ friends.
But the NYT report claims that Facebook has ongoing and separate deals with more than 60 gadget makers that allow data collection on Facebook friends.
This is because Facebook reportedly doesn’t see gadget makers as third-parties in the same way as app makers.
An NYT reporter used the Hub app on a BlackBerry Z10 to log into Facebook.
The app then retrieved detailed data on 556 of the reporter’s friends, including their relationship info and political views.
Worse still, the Hub app was then able to collect data on all of the reporter’s friends’ friends – that’s 294,258 people.
“It’s like having door locks installed, only to find out that the locksmith also gave keys to all of his friends so they came come in and rifle through your stuff without having to ask you for permission,” said privacy consultant Ashkan Soltani.
It’s possible that Facebook’s rogue deals may be in breach of a 2011 decree from America’s communications regulator, the FCC, that requires consent for this type of data collection.
Ime Archibong, a Facebook vice president, defended the data collection deals.
“These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform,” he explained.
He said gadget makers can only use the hoovered-up user data to provide versions of “the Facebook experience”.
In a blog post, Archibong claimed that the deals exist so that companies like Apple or BlackBerry could create Facebook-like experiences on devices.
But it’s not clear how gathering information on a user’s relationships or planned events helps gadget makers improve their devices.
We’ve asked Facebook for comment and will update this article with any response.
Has Facebook’s ongoing privacy blunder put you off using the site? Let us know in the comments!
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