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Facebook reveals names of 52 companies it gave deep data access to the US Congress

Facebook says it has stopped sharing user data with companies as part of its partnership.

  • Published: July 3, 2018 11:22 AM IST
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On Friday, the social media giant Facebook submitted the US Congress with a 750 page document that offers response to 2,000 plus questions it received from the Senate and House committee in April. The company offered response to questions directed at CEO Mark Zuckerberg during his testimony in April.

The most important detail is Facebook granting special data access to select companies via API agreements called “integration partnerships.” As the New York Times previously reported, these data-sharing agreements appear to undermine Facebook’s claims as to how it respects privacy since the social media giant did not seek consent from its users before sharing those data.

The full list of 52 companies who received special access to Facebook user data include Accedo, Acer, Airtel, Alcatel/TCL, Alibaba, Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Blackberry, Dell, DNP, Docomo, Garmin, Gemalto, HP/Palm, HTC, Huawei, INQ, Kodak, LG, MediaTek/ Mstar, Microsoft, Miyowa /Hape Esia, Motorola/Lenovo, Mozilla, Myriad, Nexian, Nokia, Nuance, O2, Opentech ENG, Opera Software, OPPO, Orange, Pantech, PocketNet, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony, Sprint, T-Mobile, TIM, Tobii, U2topia, Verisign, Verizon, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, Warner Bros, Western Digital, Yahoo and Zing Mobile. The New York Times had reported last month that Facebook offered device makers deep access to data on its users and their friends via device-integrated APIs.

Facebook says the list might not be comprehensive and crisis PR mentions “It is possible we have not been able to identify some integrations, particularly those made during the early days of our company when our records were not centralized. It is also possible that early records may have been deleted from our system.”

The list is not just limited to device makers and also includes the likes of mobile carriers, software makers, security firms and chip designer Qualcomm. Facebook notes that partnership with Amazon, Apple, Gemalto, Myriad, Nokia, Samsung, Tobii, U2topia, Vodafone, Yahoo and Zing Mobile is still in the process of ending and that partnership with Tobii, Apple and Amazon will continue beyond October 2018. It also notes that data partnerships with Alibaba, Mozilla, Opera Software will continue without access to friends data.

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Facebook is facing huge backlash from US Senators over its inability to control the platform from being manipulated and letting developers like Alexandr Kogan harvest user data for big data firms like Cambridge Analytica. Mark Zuckerberg-led social media platform is trying to ensure that such practice does not occur again on its platform but the response from the company so far has not really been to the mark.

TextMechanic’s tool spotted 3,434 lines of duplicate text in the answers submitted as part of the new document. “Facebook is generally not opposed to regulation but wants to ensure it is the right regulation,” the company repeatedly states in the document. Facebook reinstates that it will continue to work with regulators and the Congress to craft the right regulation. It has taken steps like transparency around political ads but it is not clear whether regulators are happy with the response.

  • Published Date: July 3, 2018 11:22 AM IST