A New York Times investigation has revealed that Facebook has been purposely sharing your information. The findings, which Facebook has since confirmed in a blog post, show that Facebook reached an agreement to share user data including religion, relationship status, and political inclination with around 60 companies. These companies include the likes of Blackberry, Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung. The investigation also alleges that Facebook even gave access to user’s friends’ data, without consent.
Responding to the New York Times report, Facebook claims that the sharing of your information was legitimate and above board. According to Facebook, the agreement goes back years to a time when mobiles had app stores. Facebook agreed to share your data with third-party mobile manufacturers to facilitate the creation of bespoke Facebook experiences on their respective devices.
Of the deal, Facebook’s VP of Product Partnerships, Ime Archibong, said:
“These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences. Partners could not integrate the user’s Facebook features with their devices without the user’s permission.”
Archibong also went on to say that Facebook is satisfied with the agreement as it has no record of any partner abusing the deal. Facebook also denied including access to friends’ data, without consent, as a part of the deal saying:
“Contrary to claims by the New York Times, friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends.”
Although Facebook has moved to address the findings of the report, people are still angry at the revelations. It looks like Mark Zuckerberg may have lied to Congress when he said users have complete control over who sees their data. One Senator called Facebook’s response completely unacceptable. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat and ranking member of the Senate subcommittee on consumer protection said:
“I think this explanation is completely inadequate and potentially disingenuous… I think Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony raises very serious and severe questions about Facebook’s credibility.”
The Cambridge Analytica scandal still fresh in everybody’s minds and the company has been stumbling from one crisis to another since the revelations first broke. It is almost a matter of when and not if we’ll hear about the latest way that the social network has been exploiting our private data to facilitate its bottom line.
Do you believe Facebook’ VP of Product Partnership? Are you satisfied that your data was shared with third-party companies in an appropriate manner? Let us know in the comments below.