The deals allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, "like" buttons and address books.
What's harder to understand is other aspects of the Times reporting, which found that those hardware companies also had in prior years - and in some cases, continued to have years after those first Facebook data-sharing arrangements were made - the ability to collect much more information from Facebook user accounts including religious affiliation, event attendance and data from the social media accounts of Facebook users' friends.
Facebook has faced intense scrutiny in recent months over the Trump-linked firm's profiling of US voters in order to target them with personalized political ads, using personal information it obtained from Facebook. It doesn't think it's violated the FTC deal, but former FTC official Jessica Rich told the Times that "under Facebook's interpretation, the exception swallows the rule". During that testimony, Zuckerberg said that Facebook users could completely control their own data. These partnerships were put in place starting in 2007, with the goal of giving device manufacturers access to Facebook features, while simultaneously spreading the use of Facebook into the mobile sphere.
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Back in 2011, Facebook signed a consent decree with the FTC that prevented the company from sharing members' personal data without their consent.
"These partnerships work very differently from the way in which app developers use our platform", Ime Archibong, Facebook vice president told the daily. "And our partnership and engineering teams approved the Facebook experiences these companies built", Archibong said.
Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica in light of allegations that it had improperly harvested personal data from as many as 87 million Facebook accounts and used the material in Donald Trump's presidential election campaign.
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US Congressman David Cicilline, who has introduced a bill meant to curb Facebook and Google's influence in the news industry, said the Times report raises questions about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg's testimony before Congress earlier this year.
Archibong says that friends' information was only accessible on devices where people explicitly made a decision to share their information. The company says it has already ended 22 of the partnerships.
"Facebook and other data collectors, including these device manufacturers, should be prepared to come before Congress so that we can get a better grasp of the entire data collection ecosystem", New Jersey Rep.
Apple, on the other hand, said it stopped giving its iPhones that access since September 2017. "It's why we announced in April that we're winding down access to them", the company wrote.
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