Facebook Admits it Shared User Data With Dozens of Companies

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Facebook reveals it has provided dozens of tech companies with special access to user information after publicly announcing it restricted such access in 2015. Facebook user data shared without their knowledge includes friends’ names, genders and birth dates.

In 747 pages of documents, delivered to Congress late Friday, the social media giant reported it shared user data with 61 hardware and software makers, including some China-based companies, under agreements designed to make its social media platform more effective on mobile devices.

The companies Facebook shared its user data with include major American tech brands such as Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. The list of foreign partners comprises the names of such technologically advanced companies as South Korean Samsung and China-based Huawei and Alibaba.

In the document, Facebook also claimed that it has ended 38 of the partnerships and plans to discontinue seven more by the end of July.

“We engaged companies to build integrations for a variety of devices, operating systems, and other products where we and our partners wanted to offer people a way to receive Facebook or Facebook experiences,” the company said in the documents. “These integrations were built by our partners, for our users, but approved by Facebook.”

The disclosure is the logical continuation of Zuckerberg’s testimony before both the Senate and House Energy and Commerce Committee in April when the social network faced a scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, a digital consultancy that had ties to the Trump presidential campaign. Cambridge Analytica inappropriately accessed personal information on up to 87 million Facebook users, prompting a backlash that raised questions about whether Facebook can be reliable in protecting the personal data of its 2 billion users.

In June, Facebook released written responses to some of the committee’s questions, many of which Zuckerberg responded to during that hearing by saying he’d have his team “get back to” lawmakers with answers.

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