Tuesday June 18, 2019
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Social Networking Giant Facebook Planned to Sell Users’ Data in 2012

In March, Facebook admitted it collected data from people's calls and texts but said it had prior consent

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

Facebook considered selling users’ data to companies some years ago but later decided to act against it, the media reported.

According to Arstechnica.com that viewed an unredacted court document, Facebook staff in 2012 considered charging companies at least $250,000 for “access to one of its primary troves of user data — the Graph API”.

“In April 2014, Facebook changed the way the previously permissive Graph API works.

“The social media giant restricted some data access and eliminated all access to the earlier version by June 2015,” the report said on Friday.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that “Facebook employees discussed pushing some advertisers to spend more in return for increased access to user information”.

A failure on Facebook’s part to adequately redact a public court document revealed this information.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

According to Arstechnica.com, Facebook gave “extended access to the v1.0 of Graph API to numerous companies not only including Nissan and Royal Bank of Canada but now also to Chrysler/Fiat, Lyft, Airbnb, and Netflix, among others”.

A Facebook spokesperson, however, was quoted as saying that Chrysler/Fiat and the other companies, besides Nissan and Royal Bank of Canadaa, were listed erroneously in the court document.

The news comes on the heel of the British Parliament obtaining a set of internal Facebook documents from US software company Six4Three that has sued the social media giant over what it claims are fraudulent breaches of contract.

Facebook, however, defended itself, saying that Six4Three’s “claims have no merit, and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously”.

Now defunct, Six4Three in a new filing to a California lawsuit in May 2018 alleged that Facebook collected information on users and their friends through its apps.

The filing was part of a suit brought against Facebook in 2015 by Six4Three.

To collect the information, Facebook used several methods including tracking users’ locations, reading their text messages and accessing their photos on phones, according to the allegations as reported by the Guardian.

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

In March, Facebook admitted it collected data from people’s calls and texts but said it had prior consent.

However the Guardian reported that it logged some messages without explicitly notifying users.

Also Read- Google Partners With LG Uplus on VR Content

Six4Three sued Facebook over its app Pikinis, which allowed users to zoom in on bikini photos.

It alleged that Facebook tracked users, sometimes without their express consent. (IANS)

Next Story

No one Would Buy a Huawei Smartphone Sans Google or Facebook

Despite all this, there is no respite seen for Huawei in the near future and the company is likely to witness its smartphone business dwindle

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FILE - A member of the media tries out new Huawei Honor 20 series of phones following their global launch in London, UK, May 21, 2019. VOA

By Nishant Arora

Be honest and ask yourself: Would you buy a smartphone that neither supports Android operating system and Google apps nor comes pre-installed with Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram? This is the scenario which Huawei (and its sub-brand Honor) smartphones stare at in the near future – and an imminent fall if the issue does not get resolved in the next one-two quarters.

Although the Chinese communications giant aims to launch its own operating system called “Hongmeng” to replace the Android OS on its smartphones but ‘abhi Dilli door hai’ as the OS has to see the light of the day and then users’ approval, which is the most critical part.

The absence of apps like Facebook or WhatsApp that truly define user experiences is a double whammy for Huawei.

Currently the second largest smartphone player in the world (powered by stupendous growth in non-US regions like Europe and Asia), Huawei has sensed the tough road ahead. A recent report in Nikkei Asian Review claimed that Huawei has “downgraded its forecast for total smartphone shipments in the second half of 2019 by about 20 per cent to 30 per cent from the previous estimate”.

According to Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Devices and Ecosystem, India and South Asia, IDC, almost half of Huawei’s smartphone volumes come from outside China with its wide smartphone portfolio which runs on Android with Google Mobile Services (GMS) – a collection of Google applications and application programming interfaces (APIs) that help support functionality across devices.

“China has its own ecosystem of apps which are hugely popular but only in China. Outside it, almost all popular Android apps are from Google or from US-based companies. These apps are the heart of experience of any smartphone user these days,” Singh told IANS.

“Without these apps present on its own OS, it will be very very tough for Huawei to pull in demand for its phones running on its own OS,” he added.

Sandwiched between the ongoing US-China trade war, Chinese telecom equipment major Huawei is frantically looking to salvage its prestige and fast cover the lost ground.

The company is also looking at the Indian smartphone market which has touched 450 million smartphone users and has a great potential to grow.

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Huawei smartphones are seen in front of displayed Google Play logo in this illustration picture, May 20, 2019. VOA

“In India, they have never been really able to scale up to be a major player. But considering the growth potential in India, the decision by Google and Facebook has put a spanner in the Huawei’s possible aggressive plans for the country as the next growth market in next two-three years outside of China,” Singh told IANS.

Huawei pipped Apple as the second largest smartphone seller in the first quarter of 2019 after Samsung. It clocked 17 per cent market share in the global smartphone market, according to Counterpoint Research.

The Chinese tech giant, meanwhile, has denied reports that it has cut down smartphone manufacturing.

The company, however, is reassessing its target to become the world’s top-selling smartphone vendor by 2020, after the US trade ban was put in place.

On May 15, US President Donald Trump effectively banned Huawei with a national security order.

Huawei has filed a motion in a US court challenging the constitutionality of the US President Donald Trump’s order to ban it.

Also Read- Samsung Galaxy M40 Tech Review: Stunning Display, Better Chipset

According to reports, Google has also discussed with the US government about an exemption from the Huawei ban, saying it is bad for the company’s technology business.

Despite all this, there is no respite seen for Huawei in the near future and the company is likely to witness its smartphone business dwindle.

Unless, a miracle happens. (IANS)