Thursday October 18, 2018
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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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Facebook unveils AI-powered video chat speakers amid privacy concerns. Pixabay
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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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Social Networking Giant Facebook To Develop Camera-Equipped Set-top Box For TVs

Facebook declined to comment on the subject, the report added

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Facebook likely to launch camera-equipped hardware for TVs. Pixabay

Social networking giant Facebook is developing a camera-equipped set-top box for TVs that would support functionalities like video-calling, a media report said.

Internally codenamed “Ripley”, the device would use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automatically detect and follow people as they move through the frame during a video call, news website Cheddar reported on Tuesday.

Apart from facilitating video-chat, the device could also help Facebook compete with the likes of Apple and Amazon in the TV-segment.

In October, the social networking major launched its smart-speakers — “Portal” — which incorporated AI technology to follow user-movements while on a video-chat amd remove unwanted background noise during a call.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Priced at $199, sporting a 10-inch display, built-in Amazon Alexa support and pre-loaded with Facebook’s own “Watch” video service, the smart speakers would begin shipping in November.

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With projects like “Portal” and “Ripley” Facebook is trying to build a consumer-hardware business outside of its virtual reality brand ‘Oculus’ that was acquired by the social networking giant in March 2014 for nearly $2 billion.

Facebook declined to comment on the subject, the report added. (IANS)