While this sounds relatively harmless, Facebook has now been caught giving Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Blackberry and at least 56 other manufacturers "deep access" to each user and their friends without consent. According to the Times, however, an exemption was given to the device makers and they reportedly kept the access to the data.
So companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube had to work directly with operating system and device manufacturers to get their products into people's hands.
Facebook and other internet companies are grappling with a global backlash over the extent to which they hoover up and handle user data.
Facebook might have thought that it could ease up now that the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal was dying down slightly, but a New York Times report has again put the company's policies under a spotlight. According to a story in the New York Times on Sunday, this has been going on for over ten years.
For their part, BlackBerry spokesman Usher Lieberman told The New York Times BlackBerry used Facebook data only to give its own customers access to their Facebook networks and messages and did not collect or mine the Facebook data as BlackBerry has always been in the business of protecting, not monetizing, customer data.
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Mattis responded that the question reflected a fundamental disconnect with the way worldwide tribunals have spoken on the matter. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks to reporters aboard a US military plane on May 29, 2018, as he flies to Hawaii.
Archibong said the rise of iOS and Android meant few people rely on the bespoke Facebook experiences these companies used to provide, which is why the company began "winding down" the partnerships in April, having ended 22 so far.
Back in 2011, Facebook signed a consent decree with the FTC that prevented the company from sharing members' personal data without their consent. Facebook said that in the device partnerships described by the New York Times, personal data was mostly processed on users' phones.
"This was flagged internally as a privacy issue", Sandy Parakilas, who then led Facebook's privacy compliance, told The Times.
"These partners signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any other goal than to recreate Facebook-like experiences", said Archibong. These partnerships were put in place starting in 2007, with the goal of giving device manufacturers access to Facebook features, while simultaneously spreading the use of Facebook into the mobile sphere.
"We are not aware of any abuse by these companies", he added. Responding to the article, Vice President of Facebook's Product Partnerships Ime Archibong said that the partnerships were necessary due to high demand for Facebook apps across multiple platforms. The reporter discovered that one Blackberry app was able to acquire "identifying information" for up to 295,000 Facebook users.