It suggested the practice meant the Silicon Valley firm might have breached an agreement it struck with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011 to get consumers' "express consent" before sharing personal data with third parties in new ways.
The New York Times reported that Facebook also gave device makers "access to the data of users' friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders".
The New York Times discovered that the BlackBerry phone "was also able to retrieve identifying information for almost 295,000 Facebook users" and that "Facebook empowers BlackBerry devices to access more than 50 types of information about users and their friends". "All these partnerships were built on a common interest - the desire for people to be able to use Facebook whatever their device or operating system", wrote VP of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong.
Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker, one of the legislators who questioned Facebook Vice President for Global Public Policy Joel Kaplan in April, said the data partnership violated the privacy of users.
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook's app clean-up may end up being more hard than we think. It also found the data of users' friends could be accessed, despite data sharing being turned off.
Here's a short list of all the companies that might have gotten their hands on your very intimate Facebook data without your knowledge: Global Science Research, S.C.L. Group (Cambridge Analytica's parent company), AggregateIQ. As such, it offered APIs to allow device-makers to "recreate Facebook-like experiences of their individual devices or operating systems".
A Democratic Congressman hammered Facebook and its CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergFacebook removing "trending" topics feature Facebook investor compares company's handling of user data to "human rights violation" Papua New Guinea to ban Facebook for a month MORE following a report that the company is sharing large amounts of its users' data with other companies.
Beginning in 2014, Facebook began ending the access app developers had to users' friends data, which included names, birthdays, and even political or religious leanings. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it seems that the social networking giant has been involved in several similar data sharing scandals. The popular social media company told the Times that it views its device partners as extensions of Facebook itself, making the partnerships immune to some of the privacy limitations set on other third party apps and companies.
The social network added that it was not aware of there being any abuse of the shared data.
It said it forged partnerships with around 60 companies back when mobile phones were less powerful and app stores did not yet exist.
"This was flagged internally as a privacy issue", Sandy Parakilas, who was leading third-party advertising and privacy compliance for Facebook's platform at the time, said.