Facebook Allows Manufacturers Like Samsung, BlackBerry, And Apple Access To User Data

As an example of how device makers in the partnership with Facebook have special privileges involving members' data, a reporter for the New York Times logged into Facebook using the Hub app.

Over the last decade, Facebook shared the private data of Facebook users with at least 60 device-making companies including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung, according to an investigation published by the New York Times.

The agreements allowed the social media company expand its reach and let the phone makers offer customers popular Facebook features.

Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users' friends who believed they had barred any sharing, the newspaper said.

And such reports are not something the company welcome following the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal, which involved a misuse of Facebook's data policies by the political strategy company and a failure by Facebook to properly stop such a thing from happening.

Ime Archibong, Facebook's vice-president of product partnerships, said the company disagreed with the Times report.

Unlike developers that provide games and services to Facebook users, the device partners can use Facebook data only to provide versions of "the Facebook experience", the officials were quoted as saying.

"Facebook and other data collectors, including these device manufacturers, should be prepared to come before Congress so that we can get a better grasp of the entire data collection ecosystem", New Jersey Rep. It also found the data of users' friends could be accessed, despite data sharing being turned off.

Archibong said these cases were "very different" from the use of data by third-party developers in the Cambridge Analytica case. It also said that the features couldn't be used with permission and that its engineering teams approved all of them.

"These partners signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any other objective than to recreate Facebook-like experiences".

Facebook says it made deals with around 60 companies, from Apple, Amazon and Blackberry to HTC, Microsoft and Samsung, to "recreate Facebook-like experiences" on their devices.

However, Facebook blasted back at the Times report, saying the newspaper has misinterpreted the goal and function of its so-called "device-integrated APIs" - the software that allows hardware companies to bridge into Facebook's database to offer versions of the app on their operating systems. Cambridge Analytica has since been dissolved. Through a combination of legal agreements and software, Facebook "allowed companies to recreate Facebook-like experiences for their individual devices or operating systems", the social giant acknowledged in a blog post Monday. "We are not aware of any abuse by these companies". The company says it has already ended 22 of the partnerships. In response, Facebook said the article's central allegation that the partnerships allowed unauthorized access to users' friends data is wrong. Blackberry said it did not "collect or mine" Facebook data itself.