New data claims that Facebook lied to Congress back in April when the company was testifying in regards to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
In the hearing, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the Cambridge Analytica data was out of bounds for Facebook. The company then claimed that it would strive to be more transparent, and that it would also investigate apps that could have misused data. Thousands of these were analyzed and hundreds were suspended and banned from Facebook.
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According to The New York Times, Facebook gave different phone companies blanket access to people’s private data without their consent, even after the company claimed that it had stopped doing so. Most of these partnerships remain in effect.
Facebook began developing agreements with over 60 device manufacturers (including Apple and Samsung) over a decade ago, when the website was figuring out its mobile app. The purpose of these agreements was to figure out how to get these devices to incorporate Facebook into their operating softwares while giving users features like Facebook messaging and “Like” buttons.
Private data of thousands of users was exchanged without informing anyone. Even those who kept their data private could have their information revealed by accessing the data of their Facebook friends. Sandy Parakilas, an ex-Facebook employee, claims that that moment “raised red flags,” and that the company was well aware of what they were doing. “It is shocking that this practice may still continue six years later, and it appears to contradict Facebook’s testimony to Congress that all friend permissions were disabled,” he said.
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Vanity Fair believes that this could mean real trouble for Facebook, putting the company in a position that could lead to lawsuits. If Facebook were to be found liable it could mean trillions of dollars in charges, risking the company’s billion dollar business.