Facebook refutes that the APIs shared users' friends' data.
Post-Cambridge Analytica, but pre-scandal, Facebook had started to limit the amount of access app makers and third-party firms have to its users' data in 2014.
Facebook said that in the device partnerships described by the New York Times, personal data was mostly processed on users' phones.Facebook however doesn't view device makers as outsiders - allowing them deeper access, the New York Times reported.
However, Facebook blasted back at the Times report, saying the newspaper has misinterpreted the goal and function of its so-called "device-integrated APIs" - the software that allows hardware companies to bridge into Facebook's database to offer versions of the app on their operating systems. That settlement followed complaints from users that Facebook wasn't allowing them to keep their information on the social network private-Facebook promised to get consent from users before sharing their data with third parties, and to avoid making deceptive claims about its privacy practices. Facebook has been under extensive scrutiny since March, when revelations were made of its massive data breach scandal involving British company Cambridge Analytica. A reporter who had about 550 friends was able to harvest identifiable information of over 295,000 Facebook users through the BlackBerry Hub app.
A spokesman for Apple told the Times that it used the partnership with Facebook to allow iPhone users to post photos to the platform without opening the Facebook app. Apple no longer has such access to Facebook since last September. Samsung and Amazon have declined to comment on the matter.
In premarket trading Monday, Facebook stock was down about 1.3%.
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Guy Verhofstadt, chair of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, tweeted that Zuckerberg "was not totally honest" in claiming users control how their data is shared and who sees it. There's no evidence that anyone at any of these companies abused their access to Facebook user data.
The deals granted the companies access to a user's relationship status, political leaning, educational history, religion and upcoming events, according to the news outlet.
A New York Times investigation published late Sunday revealed the scope of data-sharing deals Facebook struck over the years with companies like Apple, Samsung and Microsoft. It argued that those device partners are not third parties but are, in fact, "service providers" and are, therefore, entitled to the same data access as Facebook itself.
Facebook's vice president of product partnerships at the social network, Ime Archibong contests the report, stating that this incident is far from Cambridge Analytica's debacle.
"These partners signed agreements that prevented people's Facebook information from being used for any other goal than to recreate Facebook-like experiences", he said. "It is shocking that this practice may still continue six years later, and it appears to contradict Facebook's testimony to Congress that all friend permissions were disabled". And while some of the decade-old agreements may still be in effect, they're not as useful nowadays when Facebook directly creates and controls the apps that go onto your smartphone.
Cupertino tech giant Apple has always been very vocal about protecting its users' privacy, while other tech companies, such as Facebook, have been under fire recently for invasion of privacy.