After the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, it seems that Facebook is in the deep water again as it admits sharing data of user’s friends to more than 50 companies. Even though according to Facebook that had stated that it has restricted companies from accessing user’s data in 2015, Facebook admits that it has shared data with the companies after 2015.
Facebook disclosed its practices in a 747-page document to the Congress. The disclosure also responses the questions related to the company’s data practices asked earlier in the April by the Congress to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. The information that was shared by Facebook to the companies includes the name, gender, birth date, current residence, hometown, and photos.
The listed companies by the Facebook include tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, and others. Controversially, this list spans to the Chinese companies such as Huawei, Alibaba, and others which concern the US about possible espionage threat to the users. Five companies have also accessed the data of user’s friends through the API access given by Facebook for the beta test.
According to Facebook, they shared the user’s data to these companies as to aid them to create the version or Facebook experience on their devices which had different operating systems. Furthermore, Facebook states that these versions were created in agreement to the terms and policies that are provided to the users.
Moreover, Facebook announces that it has ended the data sharing with 38 out of the 50+ companies, with the expectation to end seven more by the end of the month and the other remaining by the end of October. Though, Facebook states that three companies will have an extension to the data sharing after October, which include Apple, Amazon, and Tobii.
This disclosure comes after Facebook revealed that 87 million data of the Facebook users were compromised and breached by the Cambridge Analytica through Facebook. The consultancy firm allowed the outcome of the election to be altered and helped to win Donald Trump in the US 2016 elections.
Unfortunately, this user friends’ data sharing activity of the Facebook has possibly violated the 2011 consent decree of Facebook and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The decree required the permission before sharing any user’s data or personal information with a “third party”. Facebook counters the argument by stating that none of the companies were third parties, but instead the suppliers.
Also, the data sharing activity doesn’t bode well with the General Data Protection Regulation law that was put into the effect since May in EU.