Facebook pushes back on NYT data-sharing report


Facebook is pushing back on a New York Times report about the social network’s arrangements to share data with dozens of phone makers without users’ explicit consent.

In a blog post published late Sunday, Facebook said that the partnerships allowed companies like Apple and BlackBerry to build mobile Facebook experiences in the days before app stores streamlined the process.

“These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences,” wrote Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships.


“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,” Archibong added. “We are not aware of any abuse by these companies.”

The Times report said that device makers could access users’ friends’ data, even in cases where a user had set restrictions against sharing that information.

The news could raise concerns at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is investigating Facebook over its handling of user data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook entered into a consent agreement with the FTC in 2011 that barred it from sharing data with third parties without informing users.

Archibong said Sunday that the partnerships were not comparable to the handling of user data by third-party app developers like the one that turned over a trove of information on 87 million users to Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy with ties to President Trump and other Republicans. The Facebook executive added that the company has been planning on ending the partnerships for months.

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