As suspected the Cambridge Analytica scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. Facebook recently admitted to sharing user data with multiple device makers including Apple, Blackberry and Samsung among others. Facebook has now dropped yet another bombshell by revealing that it granted a host of companies special access to user data, after publicly announcing back in 2015 that user data was inaccessible to third parties.
In a voluminous 747-page document sent as a reply to the Energy and Commerce Committee (U.S. House of Representatives), Facebook revealed that it continued sharing data with around 61 companies as it had to given them time to comply with the new data sharing rules.
According to Facebook’s lengthy response, it granted ‘a one-time extension of less than six months’ to 61 companies which include the AOL, Audi, Nike, Nissan, Oracle, Panasonic, Saavn (now Reliance), Snap and Spotify among a long list of others. Moreover, Facebook also mentioned that five companies including Activision may have accessed a limited amount of friends’ data because they were granted API access as part of a beta test. However, Facebook has now retracted their special privilege to access the data, and there is no evidence that these companies actually leveraged this special right.
We engaged companies to build integrations for a variety of devices, operating systems and other products where we and our partners wanted to offer people a way to receive Facebook or Facebook experiences. These integrations were built by our partners, for our users, but approved by Facebook.
Moreover, the document revealed that out of the original 52 companies it had partnered with, which includes Apple, Amazon, Alibaba and Huawei, the social media giant has already cut ties with 38 of them, and will end the partnerships with 7 more by the end of July. However, the partnerships with Amazon, Apple and Tobii, an accessibility app for people suffering from ALS, will continue without a hitch.
Similarly, Facebook’s deal with Mozilla, Alibaba, and Opera will remain intact as their respective web browsers are employed for sending Facebook notifications, however, they, won’t receive any access to the social media data of a Facebook user’s friends.