Facebook ends friend data access for Microsoft and Sony, the last 2 of its legacy partners, under FTC deal


One more consequence of the FTC’s investigation of Facebook, which culminated in a record $5 billion settlement announced today: it’s finally tightening another string in its privacy policy by cutting off access to friend data for Microsoft and Sony, the company announced today. It described having allowed them access up to now as “our mistake.”

Little by little, Facebook has been trickling out changes to how it handles its users’ personal data in the wake of a number of privacy breaches — not just the biggie involving Cambridge Analytica — and a subsequent investigation by regulators.

The announcement specifically impacting Microsoft and Sony comes as the company is also announcing a larger overhaul of its API. This will impact “dozens” of partners, the company said, which had been using it to build Facebook experiences on their own apps or devices “that should have been wound down.” (These integrations typically would have led to intentional — but often unintentional — sharing of contacts and synching of contacts between address books, apps and so on.)

The tech giants had been the last two remaining of a group of 12 select partners(others included Yahoo, which is owned by Verizon, which also owns us, as well as Spotify, Netflix and Blackberry) that had a particularly wide deal with the social network, in which they were allowed to access and use data relating to a users’ friend lists, in addition to data about the users themselves, when those users were logged into their services using their Facebook sign-ins.

“This was old code supporting known experiences for people, such as being able to use Facebook on an earlier generation PlayStation (PS3 or Vita) or to sync their friends’ contact information with another service,” explained Ime Archibon, Facebook’s VP of product partnerships, in a blog post. “Based on our previous commitments, we are ending these partners’ access to friend data immediately. This was our mistake, and we are correcting it.”

More to come. Refresh for updates.


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