By Britt Terrell
Facebook may have a very different understanding of its users' privacy concerns than the millions of people whose personal information was shared with dozens of device makers as part of the social media company's efforts to spread its network.
"I think a lot of people have entered into agreements with Facebook without fully understanding the complete context of how this data can be used," said Damon Beres, executive editor at Mashable. "Facebook may say that someone signed their data rights away 10 years ago, but I don't think that anyone had the level of awareness about these privacy concerns that we have now."
The New York Times reported that Facebook shared users' personal data ー and the data of those users' friends ー with dozens of device makers over the last decade. The revelation that Facebook had for years shared this information raised new privacy concerns as the company was facing greater scrutiny stemming from the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
"I think it goes to show that Facebook has permeated a lot of how we use our devices without us really thinking about it," Beres said Monday in an interview with Cheddar. "So, these problems kind of keep springing up as people have more awareness of data privacy concerns."
In response to The Times's report, Facebook's vice president of product partnerships wrote a blog post that said the revelations in the latest article are different from "past concerns about the controls over Facebook information shared with third-party app developers." That's what happened with Cambridge Analytica, a political research firm that gained access to the private data of 87 million Facebook users via a third-party app.
There were no apps a decade ago when Facebook was trying to get its network into the hands of mobile users, according to Ime Archibong, the Facebook VP, so the company relied on partnerships with device makers, including Amazon, Apple, Blackberry, HTC, Microsoft, and Samsung.
"All these partnerships were built on a common interest — the desire for people to be able to use Facebook whatever their device or operating system," Archibong wrote.
Beres said that Facebook's users may not have shared those same interests, or had the same understanding as Facebook as to how their data would be used.
"Facebook's natural defense is to be very literal, but I think we need to talk more about ethics and how people can actually naturally expect how their information is being used on these services," Beres said.
For the full interview, click here.