New Facebook privacy furor: What's at stake?

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The agreements also gave device makers access to Facebook users' friends' data, without their approval, despite the company's insistence that it would not share the information, the report said.

The newspaper said the unfettered access continued even after Facebook agreed with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011 to better protect data and only share it after getting users' express consent. The New York Times said the vast amounts of information shared with Apple and other phone-makers included data on users' friends that had supposedly barred access.

Facebook is pushing back against a media report saying that it provided extensive information about its users and their friends to third parties like phone makers.

"Partners could not integrate the user's Facebook features with their devices without the user's permission", Ime Archibong, Facebook's VP of product partnerships, wrote in a blog post. "We tightly controlled these APIs (application programming interfaces) from the get-go", Mr Archibong said.

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Facebook, Inc. Common Stock shares fell $3.49 (-1.80%) in premarket trading Monday. The reporter discovered that one Blackberry app was able to acquire "identifying information" for up to 295,000 Facebook users.

The FTC is already investigating Facebook over whether it violated this consent decree following revelations of how it handled user data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook announced in April that it was winding down access to the device-integrated APIs because fewer people rely on them today. "Our partnership and engineering teams approved the Facebook experiences these companies built", he added. So, for the last 10 years as a result of sharing access to personal information of users received at least sixty companies, including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft, Samsung. Since April, Facebook has worked to end these partnerships with device makers.

Partners signed agreements preventing personal information "from being used for any other objective than to recreate Facebook-like experiences", he said.

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The data of users who had explicitly blocked data sharing with 3 parties was also available to these device makers.

This is coming a few months after it was revealed that the social networking giant had shared data of up to 87 million users with Cambridge Analytica, which may have influenced the United States 2015 elections.

A similar practice involving third-party apps on Facebook landed CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg before Congress during the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

However, it's come to light that said access ended up being "deep access", whereby the companies could take a peek at both a user's data and that of their friends, all without their explicit consent. In what Facebook says was misuse of the data, the contractor sold it to Cambridge to build voter-profiling technology.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told lawmakers that the "sonic attack" in China was "medically similar" to the incidents in Cuba. China's Foreign Ministry and National Health Commission did not immediately respond to faxed questions about the report.

Apple, Samsung and Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

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