Tuesday August 20, 2019
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Facebook Says It Didn’t Allow Third Parties To Access Users’ Data

According to Facebook, these partnerships were agreed via extensive negotiations and documentation, detailing how the third party would use the API, and what data they could and couldn't access

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Facebook testing 'LOL' app to woo kids, experts wary. Pixabay

Facebook has reiterated that it never allowed its partners like Netflix or Spotify to access users’ private messages without their permission.

In a new blog post, Facebook Vice President of Product Partnerships Ime Archibong said late on Wednesday that the social networking giant worked closely with four partners to integrate messaging capabilities into their products so that people could message their Facebook friends — but only if they chose to use Facebook Login.

“These experiences are common in our industry — think of being able to have Alexa read your email aloud or to read your email on Apple’s Mail app,” said Archibong.

The second round of rebuttal came after a New York Times report claimed that Facebook allowed large technology companies and popular apps like Netflix or Spotify access to its users’ personal information.

“People could message their friends about what they were listening to on Spotify or watching on Netflix, share folders on Dropbox, or get receipts from money transfers through the Royal Bank of Canada app.

“These experiences were publicly discussed. And they were clear to users and only available when people logged into these services with Facebook. However, they were experimental and have now been shut down for nearly three years,” said Archibong.

In a statement given to IANS on Thursday, Netflix said that over the years it has tried various ways to make the platform more social.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

“One example of this was a feature we launched in 2014 that enabled members to recommend TV shows and movies to their Facebook friends via Messenger or Netflix.

“It was never that popular so we shut the feature down in 2015. At no time did we access people’s private messages on Facebook or ask for the ability to do so,” said a Netflix spokesperson.

According to Facebook, it worked with partners to build messaging integrations into their apps so people could send messages to their Facebook friends.

“No third party was reading your private messages or writing messages to your friends without your permission. Many news stories imply we were shipping over private messages to partners, which is not correct,” stressed Archibong.

According to Facebook, these partnerships were agreed via extensive negotiations and documentation, detailing how the third party would use the API, and what data they could and couldn’t access.

Also Read- Google Algorithms Now Use Mobile-First Indexing For Most Pages in Search Results

Earlier, reacting to the New York Times report, Facebook had said it did not give large tech companies access to people’s data without their permission as its integration partners “had to get authorization from people”.

According to the company, “none of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people’s permission, nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).

“Our integration partners had to get authorization from people. You would have had to sign in with your Facebook account to use the integration offered by Apple, Amazon or another integration partner,” said Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Director of Developer Platforms and Programmes. (IANS)

Next Story

Twitter, Facebook Shut Down China-backed Fake Accounts

The recent wave of anti-government protests has prompted widespread criticism of the police for their alleged brutality against protesters

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The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.. VOA

As pro-democracy protests gain momentum in Hong Kong, Twitter and Facebook have suspended several accounts that were part of the Chinese government’s influence campaign and targeted protest movement and the call for political change in Hong Kong.

Twitter said it has suspended more than 200,000 accounts involved in coordinated inauthentic behaviour — including 936 accounts originating from within the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

“Overall, these accounts were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground,” Twitter said in a blog post late Monday.

The company identified large clusters of accounts behaving in a coordinated manner to amplify messages related to the Hong Kong protests.

“As Twitter is blocked in China, many of these accounts accessed Twitter using VPNs. However, some accounts accessed Twitter from specific unblocked IP addresses originating in mainland China,” the micro-blogging platform added.

The accounts were suspended for a range of violations of Twitter’s platform manipulation policies like spam, coordinated activity, fake accounts, attributed activity and violative content.

The micro-blogging platform said it will also ban ads from China-backed media companies, for which it has already faced the flak from users.

Facebook said it has also removed seven Pages, three Groups and five accounts originated in China and involved in posting fake news pertaining to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE – In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook’s developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

The individuals behind this campaign engaged in a number of deceptive tactics, including the use of fake accounts, “some of which had been already disabled” to manage Pages posing as news organisations, post in Groups, disseminate their content, and also drive people to off-platform news sites.

“About 15,500 accounts followed one or more of these Pages and about 2,200 accounts joined at least one of these Groups,a Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, said in a blog post.

“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the Chinese government,” he added.

Based on a tip shared by Twitter about activity they found on their platform, Facebook conducted an internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behaviour in the region and identified the malicious accounts.

Also Read: Apple ‘Bug’ Puts iPhones with Latest iOS to Hacking Risk

Since June, Hong Kong has been rocked by a wave of protests because of the extradition bill, which would have enabled fugitives to be extradited from Hong Kong to mainland China.

A mass rally in Hong Kong on Sunday, widely deemed the most important so far this month, attracted tens of thousands of people as the crisis entered the 11th consecutive weekend of anti-government protests.

The recent wave of anti-government protests has prompted widespread criticism of the police for their alleged brutality against protesters. (IANS)