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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)
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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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Facebook Set up a War Room to Fight Election Interference

With the new ad architecture in place, people would be able to see who paid for a particular political ad

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Facebook
Facebook now has a War Room to fight election interference. Pixabay

In line with its efforts to prevent misuse of its platform during elections, Facebook has set up a War Room to reduce the spread of potentially harmful content.

Facebook faced flak for not doing enough to prevent spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts during the 2016 US presidential election. The social networking giant has rolled out several initiatives to fight fake news and bring more transparency and accountability in its advertising since then.

The launch of the first War Room at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, is part of the social network’s new initiatives to fight election interference on its platform.

Although Facebook opened the doors of the War Room ahead of the general elections in Brazil and mid-term elections in the US, it revealed the details only this week.

The goal behind setting up the War Room was to get the right subject-matter experts from across the company in one place so they can address potential problems identified by its technology in real time and respond quickly.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

“The War Room has over two dozen experts from across the company – including from our threat intelligence, data science, software engineering, research, community operations and legal teams,” Samidh Chakrabarti, Facebook’s Director of Product Management, Civic Engagement, said in a statement on Thursday.

“These employees represent and are supported by the more than 20,000 people working on safety and security across Facebook,” Chakrabarti added.

Facebook said its dashboards offer real-time monitoring on key elections issues, such as efforts to prevent people from voting, increases in spam, potential foreign interference, or reports of content that violates our policies.

The War Room team also monitors news coverage and election-related activity across other social networks and traditional media in order to identify what type of content may go viral.

These preparations helped a lot during the first round of Brazil’s presidential elections, Facebook claimed.

The social networking giant said its technology detected a false post claiming that Brazil’s Election Day had been moved from October 7 to October 8 due to national protests.

While untrue, that message began to go viral. But the team quickly detected the problem, determined that the post violated Facebook’s policies, and removed it in under an hour.

“And within two hours, we’d removed other versions of the same fake news post,” Chakrabarti said.

Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

The team in the War Room, Facebook said, also helped quickly remove hate speech posts that were designed to whip up violence against people from northeast Brazil after the first round of election results were called.

“The work we are doing in the War Room builds on almost two years of hard work and significant investments, in both people and technology, to improve security on Facebook, including during elections,” Chakrabarti said.

Earlier this month Facebook said that it was planning to set up a task force comprising “hundreds of people” ahead of the 2019 general elections in India.

You May Also Like to Read About- McAfee Introduces New Device-to-Cloud Security Solutions

“With the 2019 elections coming, we are pulling together a group of specialists to work together with political parties,” Richard Allan, Facebook’s Vice President for Global Policy Solutions, told the media in New Delhi.

Facebook has also set a goal of bringing a transparency feature for political ads — now available in the US and Brazil — to India by March next year, Allan informed.

With the new ad architecture in place, people would be able to see who paid for a particular political ad. (IANS)