Facebook Answers Data Sharing Allegations With Clarifying Posts by Executives

By Bill Toulas / December 20, 2018

Following the recent article that detailed how Facebook shared user data with a selection of close partners, the latter has posted official responses disputing the basis of the allegations made against them. The documents cited by NYT will find their way to the courtrooms once again, as Facebook is against a number of ongoing investigations right now, but the social media giant had to reach out to the public as well. The negative publicity that things have taken recently are escalating the distrust of their userbase, and feed quitting rates while reducing data sharing.

First, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, the Director of Developer Platforms and Programs of Facebook, has furthered the company’s “functionality extension” argument through a blog post. As he stated, sharing of whatever data Facebook gave away to their “integration partners” was done on the basis of helping people access their favorite social media features on other platforms. These features include notifications, friend recommendations, and friend finding capabilities. He confirms that the integration partners had access to user data that goes as far as the private messages, but he points out that all partners had to get authorization by the users, so the user’s consent had to be attained in each 3rd party platform.

As he moves on to point out, however, “these features are now gone and we wound down our partnerships with device and platform companies months ago”. To clarify the part of the disclosed documents that show evidence of continuing this activity even to this day, Papamiltiadis says: “we shouldn’t have left the APIs in place after we shut down instant personalization. We’ve taken a number of steps this year to limit developers’ access to people’s Facebook information, and as part of that ongoing effort, we’re in the midst of reviewing all our APIs and the partners who can access them.”

On top of this came another official blog post, this time was written by Ime Archibong, the VP of Product Partnerships. This post focuses on explanations for the private message disclosure to integration partners, that seems to have caused the greatest concern for Facebook’s users. Archibong explains that this only concerns four integration partners (Netflix, Spotify, Dropbox, Royal Bank of Canada), for whom this data was crucial in order to provide the specific experience that the user was after. According to the post, this was an experimental feature and it has been shut down for nearly three years now.

Are you convinced with the official explanations given through blog posts by Facebook executives? Let us know of your opinion in the comments section below, and don't forget to visit our socials on Facebook and Twitter to check out what else is on. 

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