I don’t know about you, but I am shocked! – SHOCKED I tell you! – to hear that Facebook apparently failed to properly monitor device makers’ handling of the access they granted to the personal data of millions of the social network’s users.
Facebook failed to closely monitor device makers after granting them access to the personal data of hundreds of millions of people, according to a previously unreported disclosure to Congress last month.
Facebook’s loose oversight of the partnerships was detected by the company’s government-approved privacy monitor in 2013. But it was never revealed to Facebook users, most of whom had not explicitly given the company permission to share their information. Details of those oversight practices were revealed in a letter Facebook sent last month to Senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat, a privacy advocate and frequent critic of the social media giant.
The letter referenced the agreements Facebook made with several device makers to offer special access to loads of data about the social media service’s users. Some of the agreements dated back to 2010, and included companies such as Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL.
The data-sharing agreements were intended to integrate the “Facebook Experience” into mobile devices.
“Facebook claimed that its data-sharing partnerships with smartphone manufacturers were on the up and up,” Mr. Wyden said. “But Facebook’s own, handpicked auditors said the company wasn’t monitoring what smartphone manufacturers did with Americans’ personal information, or making sure these manufacturers were following Facebook’s own policies.” He added, “It’s not good enough to just take the word of Facebook — or any major corporation — that they’re safeguarding our personal information.”
Facebook has bene under continued scrutiny since a March reveal of Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of Facebook user data using the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.