Facebook Did It Again: The Social Media Gave Access Of User’s Data To 60 Mobile Manufacturing Companies!


Here we go again! It seems like the social media giant has started loving the on and off controversies coming towards it. Just when we thought things can’t get worse on Facebook we have another Facebook scandal flooding all over the internet.  And we being the technology updates freak, finds these digital scandals as nothing but ‘hot content.’

Well to update you on this latest ‘hot content’, first a little preview of Facebook’s journey for popularity to misery won’t harm anybody.

So here we go:

Once upon a time, there was a social media platform… Okay, even I’m done writing over Facebook’s data breaching scandal. So without further ado let’s start with the biggest technology news today, tomorrow, and for the rest of the week.

Data sharing part two:

A new report in the New York Times contains a startling fact: Working with a 2013 BlackBerry device. A reporter was recently able to use special access Facebook had granted the phone manufacturer. To glean some identifying information about 294,258 people.

Yeah, the social media platform found itself in hot water again and that too for the same reason, data sharing.

Facebook shared data with 60 phone manufacturers including big names like Apple and Samsung:

Not one or two, but sixty phone manufacturing companies were blessed with the user’s data.

The Chinese mobile manufacturing company, Huawei, was among these 60 companies as well.

Apparently, Facebook gave Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications firm, access to their user database. Huawei is the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer in terms of volume. But it failed to tap into the US market successfully, wherein they were booted out. Because of concerns raised by Intelligence and other Law Enforcement agencies of the country.

Rumors state that this agreement has been in place since 2010. Meaning that Huawei has had access to special (usually secure) user data stored on Facebook.

Huawei has been accused of using the data obtained from Facebook for military maligns against the United States and its allies.

Moreover, Francisco Varela, who is the Vice President of Facebook’s Mobile Partnerships commented that “Facebook’s integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO, and TCL were controlled from the get-go-. And we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built given the interest from Congress. We wanted to make clear that all the information from these integrations with Huawei was stored on the device, not on Huawei’s servers.”

And guess what Huawei isn’t the only company that had similar terms with Facebook back then.

Sources have also revealed that Facebook might have similar arrangements with other smartphone manufacturers such as TLC (BlackBerry manufacturers) and Oppo etc.

Let’s get to know the intensity of this data breaching:

You might be wondering how much intensity can be created upon one single report. But things aren’t really simple when the news involves Facebook.

So things started when Facebook and 60 phone makers had heavy-duty agreements for integrating Facebook services and data into different kinds of phones.

The “desire for people to be able to use Facebook whatever their device or operating system,” like Facebook said, became the reason of this data-sharing plan.

Many phones in the early smartphone era (say, 2007 to 2012) did not have native Facebook applications. In those cases, Facebook allowed for a “re-creation” of their service’s experience on these devices. They said they worked closely with the device manufacturers in developing versions of Facebook for their devices—viewing them as extensions of Facebook itself. For that reason, Facebook argues that this data use was not like other “third-party” data use.

Furthermore, the scandal revolves around Facebook’s neglect of giving access. To data of those users’ accounts who had denied giving permission.

Facebook allowed remarkable access to these device manufacturers, including obtaining “data about a user’s Facebook friends, even those who have denied Facebook permission to share information with any third parties,” as the New York Times put it.

Here’s what Facebook has to say about another data-breaching scandal:

Ime Archibong, vice president of product partnerships, said in a blog post. That Facebook has maintained tight control over the technology, known as application programming interfaces, or APIs. And that it is unaware of any abuse by the companies with which it teamed.

These partners signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences,” he said. “Contrary to claims by The New York Times, friends’ information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends.”

Well, we can’t say much about this latest scandal but I believe that tech blogs in Pakistan and around the world can’t help but keep you up to date regarding a scandal that involves the world’s leading social networking site.

By Maira Feroz

A journalism student who's studying the native form of journalism but is performing it in the digital way.