There is something new in the Cambridge Analytica case involving Facebook that has led Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before numerous institutions including the US Congress. Indeed, in the case of Facebook users' data breach, the CEO was asked to testify about his company's confidentiality practices during 10 hours of interrogation to explain the use made of the information collected on the uses of his social network. During this interrogation, Mr. Zuckerberg promised to answer the senators' written questions in a document. He made a promise last June 11 in a 500-page document in which Facebook claimed to have data-sharing partnerships with phone manufacturers, but only as part of improving the user experience, while ignoring many other questions.
At the latest news, Facebook would have provided much richer new insights into the nature of its relationship with 52 hardware and software manufacturers, some of which are based in China, as part of improving user services on devices like smartphones, in a document of more than 700 pages. The document testifies that data sharing partnerships with companies have lasted for several years, continued this year and some continue to date.
The document provides a list of partner companies that are not just phone manufacturers, but some are more in the development of operating systems and software. These include major US technology brands such as Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, as well as South Korean tech giant Samsung and the Chinese companies Huawei and Alibaba.
Facebook confessed to certain issues in the document. "We used companies to create integrations for a variety of devices, operating systems, and other products, where we and our partners wanted to give people a way to get experiences on Facebook," says the company. "These integrations were built by our partners, for our users, but approved by Facebook. He also says he has ended 38 of the 52 partnerships and expects to finish seven more.
Facebook has also been the subject of intense criticism from senators about its partnership to share user data with foreign companies, in this case partnerships with Chinese telephone manufacturing companies, in particular the Huawei society that both Democratic and Republican parties consider too close to the Chinese government, which would pose even greater risks for privacy and user safety.
This paper, which comes in response to questions from Senators posed during the Facebook CEO's testimony to the US Congress last April, is the second set of responses to members of the Congress Energy and Trade Committee. He was expected for Friday, but Facebook only submitted it around midnight.
Legislators' questions focused on the role played by the Facebook company in the case of user data breach by Cambridge Analytica, which had access to data from 87 million users including 71 million Americans via a Facebook quiz called "Thisisyourdigitallife", which has collected information about its immediate users as well as their friends on the site.
The document also reveals that after restricting access to third-party data in 2015, Facebook has extended special user data extensions to 61 apps such as Hing and Spotify. Facebook also recognizes that at least five developers "theoretically could have access to limited friends data" as part of a beta test. Also, the data sharing partnerships with the phone makers raise a real controversy as access to data was restricted a year ago instead.
If Facebook has made many revelations in this document published on Friday night, it also, as in the first document, ignored many issues raised by senators. Facebook did not say why it did not audit applications, such as the one that was related to the Cambridge Analytica controversy, years before being subject to international review, for example, nor providing the names company employees responsible for the surveillance deficiency. He did not answer, either