Facebook’s already spotty data sharing policy is apparently more problematic than observers had believed. The company apparently provides user data to device manufacturers; allowing them to access not only the data of those logged into smartphones, but also that of their friends as well.
Manufacturers of smartphones and tablets are allowed to save and store Facebook user information on their own servers; without any extra oversight or safety precautions to prevent misuse. Usually collected when users log into their accounts through the Facebook app.
The problem in this case is that Facebook has exempted these manufacturers from its new policy of preventing third party access to user data. A policy that was put in place after it was discovered that developers were using their apps to collect large amounts of data; in some occasions without the consent of the users themselves. Most notably, this was done after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that now has governments across the world demanding more protection for consumers.
Facebook’s reasoning for the situation is that it does not see these manufacturers as third parties. Instead saying that they are more like service providers; with the service being that user data is being stored on their servers. A problem compounded by the fact that these manufacturers also store friend information on these same servers.
As an example of just how much information can be extracted by these manufacturers, the New York Times logged in using a BlackBerry Z10. From there, the BlackBerry Hub could access information from 556 of the user’s friends; including relationship status, political leanings, and events. A further 294,258 users had their unique identifier revealed through their connections with the original account.
Facebook still doesn’t believe that it has done anything wrong, believing that its agreements with the manufacturers are all that it needs to maintain some sort of legal protection for itself.
[Source: The New York Times]