Facebook Disagrees with New York Times Criticism of its Device-Integrated APIsSocial Media

June 04, 2018 15:24
Facebook Disagrees with New York Times Criticism of its Device-Integrated APIs

(Image source from: Tech Tamilnadu)

Facebook has reacted to the New York Times story on company's privacy concerns regarding its device-integrated Application Programming interfaces saying that its disagrees with the issues they have raised about these APIs.

The New York Times article criticized the privacy protections of device- integrated APIs, which were launched by Facebook a decade ago headlining "Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends."

Before app stores become common, the APIs enabled Facebook strike data sharing partnerships with about 60 device makers including Apple, Amazon, Blackberry, Microsoft and Samsung allowing them to offer messaging, address books and the like button features to their users.

Merely, the article says that more data has given access than assumed. It further said that "the partnerships, whose scope has not been previously reported, raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections," as well as its compliance with a consent decree it struck with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011. The FTC is currently investigating Facebook’s privacy practices in light of the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal.

"Facebook allowed the device companies 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 story says. "Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found."

In April, Facebook said that it would commence winding down access to device-integrated APIs though New York Times says that many of those partnerships are still in effect.

Because of Cambridge Analytica revelation, Facebook is going through intense scrutiny my lawmakers and regulators including FTC which elevated earnest concerns about public APIs used by the third-party developer and company's data-sharing policies.  

"In the furor that followed, Facebook’s leaders said that the kind of access exploited by Cambridge in 2014 was cut off by the next year, when Facebook prohibited developers from collecting information from users’ friends," the New York Times says. "But the company officials did not disclose that Facebook had exempted the makers of cellphones, tablets and other hardware from such restrictions."

Facebook told New York Times that data sharing through device-integrated APIs adhered to its privacy polices and FTC agreement 2011. It as well said that it has acknowledged some partners did store users data reckoning data from their Facebook friends, but said that those practices strictly abided by agreements.

But the New York Times report claims that Facebook’s partners were able to retrieve user data on relationship status, religion, political leanings and upcoming events, and were also able to get data about their users Facebook friends, even if they did not have permission.

By Sowmya Sangam

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