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Facebook Kept Sharing Users’ Friend Data in Special Deals, Report Says

Facebook made special data-sharing deals with some firms: Report

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In yet another bad day for Facebook, a Wall Street Journal report has claimed that the social networking giant provided select companies “customised data-sharing deals” that let them gain “special access to user records”.

According to the report citing court documents and unnamed sources, Facebook gave data access to some companies while “others were cut off”.

“Facebook Inc. struck customized data-sharing deals that gave select companies special access to user records well after the point in 2015 that the social network has said it walled off that information,” the report said on Friday.

These arrangements were known as “whitelists”, and allowed “certain companies to access additional information about a user’s Facebook friends”.

Companies like the Royal Bank of Canada and Nissan Motor reportedly made such deals with Facebook.

According to Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of Product Partnerships, the company allowed some firms to have “short-term extensions” to this user data.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“But other than that, things were shut down,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

In another privacy goof-up, Facebook on Thursday admitted that 14 million users were affected by a bug in May that automatically suggested posting publicly when the users were writing posts meant only for friends.

The bug made sure that the posts could be viewed by anyone, including people not logged on to Facebook. It was not yet known users in which country were affected the most.

The bug, according to Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook, occurred as the Facebook developers were building a new way to share featured items on users’ profile, like a photo.

“The problem has been fixed, and for anyone affected, we changed the audience back to what they had been using before,” Egan said in a blog post late Thursday.

Also Read: Facebook Admits “Bug” Exposed Private Posts Of 14 Million Users

The revelation came after a New York Times report exposed how the social network allowed about 60 device makers, including Chinese smartphone players, to access personal information of users and their friends.

Facebook admitted sharing users’ data with Chinese company Huawei — facing the heat in the US over data privacy concerns — along with three other China-based smartphone makers Lenovo, OPPO and TCL.

Facebook is facing intense scrutiny for misuse of millions of its users’ data after the British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal became public. (IANS)

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Facebook Must End Far Right’s Fundraising: British Leader

In recent years, Facebook has suffered sustained criticism over its handling of a series of crises, including interference during the US presidential election 2016 and the Brexit vote, allowing dissemination of hate speech and a data breach affecting millions of users

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook CEO must put an end to far-right activists’ fundraising on the social networking platform, said British Labour leader Tom Watson, while criticising Mark Zuckerberg for having a “contempt for social responsibility”, the media reported.

According to a Guardian report, Tommy Robinson, a British far-right activist with more than 1 million followers on Facebook, has been receiving financial, political and moral support from a hidden global network of US thinktanks, right-wing Australians and Russian trolls.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds through online donations, some via the social network.

Although Facebook has disabled Robinson’s access to the donate tool, meant to be reserved for charities alone, but supporters visiting Robinson’s Facebook profile continued to be directed towards his website where they could make donations through a form, the British daily reported on Saturday.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the action.

“We have removed the “Donate Now” button from this page. This function is only available for pages that list themselves as a “charitable organisation” and allows them to link to an external webpage of their choice. As this page is for a person we have now removed this,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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Facebook is Robinson’s main social network after Twitter suspended him for claiming “Islam promotes killing people” in March, the report claimed.

In a blog post, Watson wrote: “Today I call on him to give a full explanation of how this dire breach of Facebook regulation occurred, pledge that it will never happen again, and, as an apology, make a match-fund donation to Hope Not Hate (a UK-based advocacy group).

Facebook should be ashamed that it had enabled Robinson’s efforts to “divide communities and stoke up hate”, said Matthew McGregor, Hope Not Hate’s campaigns director.

Also Read- Google Rolls Out Gender Specific Translation to Reduce Bias

“Facebook has continually failed to deal with the fact that their platform is vulnerable to exploitation by extremists, until after it is too late. Warm words after the damage is done don’t help reverse the damage caused,” he added.

In recent years, Facebook has suffered sustained criticism over its handling of a series of crises, including interference during the US presidential election 2016 and the Brexit vote, allowing dissemination of hate speech and a data breach affecting millions of users. (IANS)