Wednesday February 19, 2020
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Apple Requested ‘Zero’ Personal Data In Deals With Facebook, CEO Tim Cook Says

Requested zero personal data from Facebook: Apple CEO

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Tim Cook
Apple Requested 'Zero' Personal Data In Deals With Facebook, CEO Tim Cook Says. (Wikimedia Commons)

Apple neither requested any personal data from Facebook nor did it receive any, Apple CEO Tim Cook said while responding to a New York Times report that claimed that the social networking giant allowed about 60 device makers, including Apple and Samsung, to access personal information of users and their friends.

“We’ve never been in the data business,” Cook told National Public Radio (NPR) on Monday during the company’s annual conference for developers in San Jose, California.

“The things mentioned in the Times article about relationship statuses and all these kinds of stuff, this is so foreign to us, and not data that we have ever received at all or requested — zero,” Cook was quoted as saying.

Even before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, Facebook had data-sharing partnerships with the device makers, The New York Times report said citing company officials, adding that most of the deals remain in effect.

The deals raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it added.

“What we did was we integrated the ability to share in the operating system, make it simple to share a photo and that sort of thing,” Cook added.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“So it’s a convenience for the user. We weren’t in the data business. We’ve never been in the data business,” he said.

Facebook is already under scrutiny after the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal revealed in March how the political consultancy firm had misused data of millions of Facebook users.

The social network, however, defended on Sunday the pacts with the device makers saying that these partnerships do not raise privacy concerns.

Facebook said that 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.

“We are not aware of any abuse by these companies,” Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of Product Partnerships, said in a statement.

The social network added that the device partnerships are very different from the public APIs used by third-party developers who used the Facebook information people shared with them to build completely new experiences.

Also Read: Apple Introduces macOS Mojave

Facebook said that it had already ended 22 of the device partnerships.

A CNET report on Monday said that Senator John Thune, head of the US Senate Commerce Committee, said his committee “will be sending Facebook a letter seeking additional information” about issues including transparency and privacy risks.

“We look forward to addressing any questions the Commerce Committee may have,” a Facebook spokesman was quoted as saying.  (IANS)

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Protesters Urge Facebook CEO to Not Share Misinformation Ads for US Politicians

Protesters urge Facebook not to run misinformation for US leaders

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Protestors rallied in front of a property owned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in downtown San Francisco to urge him to stop profiting from misinformation ads for US politicians. Pixabay

Some advocacy groups in Bay Area rallied on Monday in front of a property owned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in downtown San Francisco to urge him to stop profiting from misinformation ads for US politicians.

People from various cities in the Bay Area gathered outside Zuckerberg’s house on Presidents’ Day, which falls on Monday, to stage a “Wake the ZUCK Up” protest by chanting slogans and making noises with whistles to press him for making changes to his political ads policy, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Under current Facebook political ads policy, the Silicon Valley tech giant will not take any action against advertisements run by political leaders or groups even if they contain misinformation or lies, and those political ads, which target directly particular populations, creates “a completely distorted political dialogue,” Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director of the San Francisco-based non-profit Media Alliance, said.

She criticized Facebook for using technology of artificial intelligence to manipulate ad content so that other people cannot see it at all.

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Under current Facebook political ads policy, the Silicon Valley tech giant will not take any action against advertisements run by political leaders or groups even if they contain misinformation or lies. Pixabay

The protesters called themselves as “fed-up Facebook users” who are not happy with what’s going on with Facebook. “We don’t want distorted information fed to us day after day for your personal profit,” Rosenberg stressed.

She said her organization will partner with other groups to contact some Facebook advertisers to press Zuckerberg’s company to take on greater “corporate social responsibility” and handle “political ads in a much better way.”

Monday’s event was organized by Media Alliance and another San Francisco non-profit Global Exchange, in partnership with other community and advocacy groups in the Bay Area.

On January 9, Facebook Director of Product Management Rob Leathern said the company will continue to allow political ads on its platform including Instagram, despite possible false information in those ads run by politicians.

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He reasserted that “people should be able to hear from those who wish to lead them, warts and all, and that what they say should be scrutinized and debated in public. He argued that decisions about those topics should not be made by private companies like Facebook. (IANS)