Facebook gave companies like Apple, Samsung broad access to data

Facebook appFacebook has reportedly struck data-sharing deals with at 60 device makers over the last 10 years, with many of the deals still in effect, despite the company’s promise that it no longer gave developers access to certain parts of a users’ personal information.

Device makers including Apple, Amazon, Blackberry, Microsoft, and Samsung are among the firms to have penned partnerships with Facebook down the years, reports The New York Times. These partnerships – which Facebook says were setup to help Facebook expand its reach before it became widely available on mobile – provided device makers with access to data about users’ friends without explicit consent.

This access being provided to device makers goes against Facebook’s assurance that, following the Cambridge Analytica incident, it had prohibited developers from collecting data about users’ friends. At the time, Facebook did not state that the makers of mobile phones, tablets, and other pieces of hardware would be exempt from the limits it had set.

Facebook has confirmed that it has formed around 60 partnerships with device makers over the past decade but says these deals only allowed companies “to recreate Facebook-like experiences”.

“Partners could not integrate the user’s Facebook features with their devices without the user’s permission. And our partnership and engineering teams approved the Facebook experiences these companies built,” said Ime Archibong, VP of product partnership, in a blog post.

“Contrary to claims by the New York Times, friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends. We are not aware of any abuse by these companies.”

Archibong says that, due to the popularity of Android and iOS, not many people rely on the experiences that Facebook used to provide. And that’s why the company has begun winding down partnerships, ending 22 since April.