This is becoming a joke in bad taste. Since the scandal of Facebook with Cambridge Analytica, where 87 million users were affected, have been reported, they have not stopped coming to light other questionable practices of Zuckerberg and his company. This week we learned that Facebook had delivered the data of its users and friends to 60 smartphone manufacturers, but that was not all since it was also confirmed that they had exchanged data with Chinese companies appointed by US intelligence.
And unfortunately, this seems like it will not end soon. Today The Wall Street Journal has found signs of secret operations, where Facebook would have sold private data of its users to various companies in the world, a practice that would have even taken place after the changes of privacy in the platform that arrived in 2015.
Royal Bank of Canada and Nissan Motor Co. among those involved
According to court documents, company officials and people familiar with this issue, these private agreements were known as “White Lists“, and in it were the names of famous companies, such as Royal Bank of Canada and Nissan Motor Co., as well as names of executives of some other companies.
These companies and people would have paid Facebook an amount of money not specified to have access to privileged information, and private, of certain groups of people and even specific profiles, through an exclusive platform that allowed a kind of unauthorized espionage.
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Among the information delivered by Facebook were phone numbers, emails, access to photos and publications regardless of whether they were in private mode, messages in Messenger and a metric called “Friend Links” (Friend Link), which served to measured the degree of closeness between users and other friends in their network.
Most worrying of all, the information indicates that the developers who managed to access this private monitoring platform, or espionage, were unaware that it was a secret agreement between companies and Facebook, which was limited only to certain partners.
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As we already knew, Facebook exchanged data with a large number of smartphone manufacturers, and this prompted some lawmakers to propose a new investigation to Zuckerberg. But now with this, we realize that Facebook gave privileged access to data to a greater number of companies than was previously known. In case it is confirmed, this would pose a frightening scenario because right now we do not know who has access to the data of millions of Facebook users and why they have it.
David Vladeck, who was director of the Consumer Protection Office of the Federal Trade Commission and is now a professor at Georgetown, mentioned that no one is able to understand the seriousness of this.
“These private negotiations could violate the 2012 agreement the company had with the FTC, where Facebook is asked to have permission to share information beyond what users designate as public on the site”.
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