JUNE 4, 2018
Facebook is defending its practice of sharing users’ personal data with dozens of smartphone and tablet makers.
The social media company published a blog post late Sunday in response to an extensive investigation by The New York Times.
The newspaper revealed that over the years, Facebook had struck data-sharing deals with Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and other smartphone and tablet makers. The partnerships give some device makers access to Facebook users’ education history, relationship status, work, religion, political leaning and upcoming events, the Times reported.
Facebook said it forged partnerships with 60 companies back when mobile phones were less powerful and app stores did not yet exist. The company said it gave device makers access to software only so they could build versions of Facebook that worked on different phones or operating systems.
“These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences,” Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships, wrote in the blog post.
“We are not aware of any abuse by these companies,” he added.
Apple, Samsung and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Facebook is under increasing scrutiny from lawmakers, regulators and users around the world over its handling of users’ data and the steps it takes to protect their privacy.
The firestorm erupted in March when it emerged that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign, gained improper access to tens of millions of Facebook users’ data.
The scandal pummeled Facebook’s stock and prompted calls for greater regulation of big social media companies.
But CEO Mark Zuckerberg survived a series of grillings from lawmakers in the United States and Europe. And Facebook’s stock has since recovered to trade close to its all-time high.