Facebook has been sharing user data with 60 smartphone OEMs including BlackBerry

Facebook's agreements with device makers are under scrutiny

In 2011, the FTC decreed that Facebook is prohibited from overriding users' privacy settings without asking for their consent.

Facebook shared the data of users and their friends with scores of mobile phone manufacturers without explicit consent, it has emerged.

Some device makers, according to the Times, could get personal information from those friends even though they were under the impression that they had barred any sharing if their data.

"Partners could not integrate the user's Facebook features with their devices without the user's permission".

Facebook responded to the piece with a post called 'Why We Disagree with The New York Times.' In it, the company says that APIs were provided to allow access to Facebook on a range of devices, and that this is a very different situation to Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook on Sunday said an arrangement that gave some 60 mobile device makers access to data about device users' Facebook friends is not at all like the deal it made with app developers that gave rise to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Apple was among the companies that used device-integrated APIs to serve up a version of Facebook on its hardware, but the deals are now under scrutiny.

It said information such as photos was only accessible on devices if users had chosen to share the data with those friends.

Facebook has been under scrutiny since the revelation in March that consultancy Cambridge Analytica had misused Facebook user data in the lead up to the 2016 United States presidential election.

Facebook, however, hasn't fully explained why these deals were still in place as of this year, and it's unclear whether they would have been wound down were it not for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

"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. Through a combination of legal agreements and software, Facebook "allowed companies to recreate Facebook-like experiences for their individual devices or operating systems", the social giant acknowledged in a blog post Monday.

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, the Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said he was "deeply concerned" by the Times' report, saying it was the "latest example of Facebook only coming forward when forced to do so by a media outlet". Not that this is likely to satisfy Blumenthal and Markey - there's no guarantee they'll take action, but they clearly want more explicit promises of privacy than Facebook has offered so far. BlackBerry said it used such access only to give customers access to their Facebook info on its phones.

Manufacturers of smartphones and tablets are allowed to save and store Facebook user information on their own servers; without any extra oversight or safety precautions to prevent misuse.

Microsoft said its API access ended in 2008, adding that the bridge was used to do things like add contacts and receive notifications, and that all data was stored locally on the user's device. It argued that those device partners are not third parties but are, in fact, "service providers" and are, therefore, entitled to the same data access as Facebook itself.

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