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July 3, 2018

Despite promising to stop sharing your data, Facebook continues to do so

by John_A

As part of its response to inquiries made by the congressional House Energy and Commerce Committee, Facebook revealed that despite saying it stopped the practice of data sharing with other companies in 2015, it continued to share the personal information of its users with major technology companies. Facebook delivered its response in the form of a 747-page document to Congress on June 29, revealing that it continued to share data from its users with 61 technology firms despite previous claims to the contrary.

The technology companies that Facebook continued to share data with include software and hardware companies like AOL, which is now part of Verizon, dating app Hinge, and even the United Parcel Service (UPS). The problem is that the data sharing occurred without the knowledge or consent of social media users on Facebook’s network, and the information shared between the companies include the names, genders, and birth dates of the users’ friends.

Facebook claimed that it has stopped sharing information with 38 companies and sharing will stop with seven more companies by the end of this month, according to CNET. There may be up to five additional companies that could have had access to the data of users’ friends through a beta test on the network, Facebook said. Facebook also stated that it had given some of these companies a special six-month data sharing extension so that they could become compliant with Facebook’s new privacy policy.

Facebook’s response comes after it was discovered in June that the social network may have improperly shared the information from its users with large technology companies like Apple, Huawei, Lenovo, Microsoft, Samsung, and ZTE. Given that the U.S. government continues to maintain national security concerns over Huawei and ZTE over their alleged ties to the Chinese government, the scandal also drew attention from lawmakers and the public.

Facebook’s 747-page document submitted to Congress was compiled as a result of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s initial testimony in front of legislators in April after news broke of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Privacy became a hot topic as lawmakers became concerned after learning that the now-defunct political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which had worked on the campaign of President Donald Trump, may have accessed the information of up 87 million users on Facebook’s network. During his testimony, Zuckerberg promised legislators that his company will deliver answers to questions that he was unable to provide answers at the time.

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