The most popular social networking platform Facebook formed an association with a total of 60 gadget makers for the purpose of data-sharing. Out of the sixty companies, Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung are some among others that partnered with the social media giant for the defined purpose.
Facebook had reached the specified device makers over the last decade, initiating before Facebook apps were extensively available on smartphones. The deals as mentioned, enabled Facebook to grow and expand its extent and also to let the partner companies provide popular social networking features, for instance, messaging, the ability to post photos, directly from a device without using the Facebook app, ‘like’ button and address books.
It was also being said that the device companies could even access the data of users’ friends without their authorization, even after announcing that it would no longer share such details and information with outsiders. However, some people criticize this and do not agree with Facebook’s judgment of the situation. The deals that Facebook initiated has given rise to concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree.
Sandy Parakilas, a former Facebook employee who led third-party ad and privacy compliance said, “This was flagged internally as a privacy issue. 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.”
To all this criticism, Facebook retaliated and stated all the information has been misinterpreted and the purpose and intention of its ‘device-integrated APIs’ i.e to allow device companies to enter into Facebook’s database to offer versions of the app on their operating systems has been misguided. The Facebook officials said its partnerships were governed and controlled by contracts that strictly restricted the use of user data, including any stored on partners’ servers. They further added that there have been no cases where the information or data had been misused.
“These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform,” Ime Archibong, Facebook vice president quoted.
In this regard, Apple said that the software interfaces were previously used by them to enable iPhone users to post photos to Facebook without opening the app, but its device access was discontinued in September.
Microsoft expressed that the agreement was used by the company to help users in adding contacts and receiving notifications, and all information was stored locally on the user’s device. They also added that its access to API terminated in 2008. On the other hand, BlackBerry said that the access was only used to give its own customers access to Facebook and messages. Amazon and Samsung, however, did not comment on this matter.