Facebook admits it shared user data in 'one-time extension'

Facebook reveals data-sharing partnerships, ties to Chinese firms in 700-page document dump | TheHill

Facebook reveals data-sharing partnerships, ties to Chinese firms

The acknowledgement, which came in more than 700 pages of replies to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is the fullest to date regarding reports that Facebook shared user data with some companies for years after it stopped doing so with most app makers. Out of these, 38 have been discontinued while an additional seven partnerships will be ended by the end of July 2018.

Facebook shared user information with 52 hardware and software makers, including some based in China, under agreements created to make its social media platform work more effectively on mobile devices, the company said in information furnished to Congress late Friday night.

According to the document, Facebook claims that "The partnerships - which we call "integration partnerships" - began before iOS and Android had become the predominant ways people around the world accessed the internet on their mobile phones".

The Mark Zuckerberg-owned firm revealed that it had data-sharing partnerships with several Chinese tech companies, including Alibaba, Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL, software biggies Microsoft and Qualcomm, Korean phone manufacturer Samsung, and others.

"We engaged companies to build integrations for a variety of devices, operating systems and other products where we and our partners wanted to offer people a way to receive Facebook or Facebook experiences", the company said in the documents. "For example pictures shared with friends of friends", wrote Erin Egan, chief privacy officer for Facebook. Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed personal information on up to 87 million Facebook users, prompting a backlash that raised questions about whether Facebook can be trusted to protect the personal information of its 2 billion users.

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Facebook has justified sharing this data by saying that it was done to help users access Facebook and its various features on a number of different platforms, and that the data sharing started at a time when these apps were in their infancy.

However, 61 companies got six months of extra time to wind down their data-collection practices.

As part of its continuing its efforts to improve user privacy and security following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook on Monday rolled out additional API changes that put more restrictions on developer access to user data.

Facebook, however, has denied any violation of consent decree.

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