Facebook under fire again as fresh reports of mishandling users’ data surface

Facebook’s arrangements with Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry and Samsung that allowed their devices to access data from the social network’s users could further expose Facebook to steep fines and other penalties, experts said.

The practice – which may have occurred without users’ full knowledge – drew sharp rebukes from US lawmakers on Monday, who said Facebook has misled them about the way it collects and swaps consumers’ data. And it could spark additional scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, which is already investigating Facebook for a series of other recent, privacy mishaps.

“I think the more unauthorised sharing that comes out, the more the FTC is going to be inclined to impose a significant civil penalty on Facebook,” said David Vladeck, a former top official at the agency when it punished Facebook in 2011.

On the Hill, Senator Richard Blumenthal said the new reports showed that Facebook “has failed to come clean with the American people about the extent, the scope and the scale, of data sharing. The secret agreements raise serious credibility issues about recent testimony.”

Newly at issue is a series of relationships brokered over the past decade between Facebook and roughly 60 firms, including Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, HTC, Microsoft and Samsung. 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. The New York Times first reported on the matter. Read more

Tony Romm – Brisbane Times – 5 June 2018