In over 700 pages of responses sent to Congress over the weekend, Facebook acknowledged that it shared user data with 52 hardware and software companies, many of which were previously undisclosed.
The new list includes several large tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon, and lists several Chinese companies like Huawei as being part of Facebook’s data integration partnerships. Last month, The New York Times reported that Facebook had been sharing data with device makers, but this list also includes mobile carrier AT&T, and chip designers like Qualcomm.
“These integrations were built by our partners, for our users, but approved by Facebook.”
Facebook said that these “partnerships” differ dramatically from the data sharing endeavors of the third-party app developer platform which was at the center of the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year. “We engaged companies to build integrations for a variety of devices, operating systems and other products where we and our partners wanted to offer people a way to receive Facebook or Facebook experiences. These integrations were built by our partners, for our users, but approved by Facebook,” the company said.
Within the documents, Facebook details the differences between the working relationships with companies like Apple, and individual groups utilizing the developer platform. The company said that it worked closely with the likes of Microsoft, Apple, and Blackberry —especially in the years leading up to the releases of both iOS and Android — to ensure that the Facebook platform worked efficiently on mobile devices. “Our developer platform, on the other hand, is designed to enable developers to use information provided by Facebook users to build their own unique experiences under the terms and policies they provide to their users,” the company wrote.
These partnerships were managed by Facebook’s engineering teams, who then approved how API licenses were integrated into products developed by their partners. These agreements “provided limited rights to use APIs to create specific integrations approved by Facebook, not independent purposes determined by the partner,” the company said.
According to Facebook, these integrations were used to create Facebook apps, notification “hubs,” and allowed users to sync Facebook data with their devices — like adding contacts into an address book, for example.
In the document, Facebook said that 38 out of the 52 data integration partnerships had already ended, seven more will be discontinued by the end of the month, and several more will be shut down in October. Three other partnerships will extend past October — this includes Amazon, Apple, and Tobii, an accessibility app to help those suffering from ALS use Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. Facebook will also continue sharing data with Mozilla, Alibaba, and Opera in order to allow users to receive Facebook notifications in their browsers.
Here’s the complete list of partnerships Facebook disclosed on Friday. Facebook did not specify exactly when the discontinued partnerships ended. Company names with * denote that Facebook is still in the process of ending the agreements. Others with ** denote data partnerships that the company will continue without allowing the outside company access to friends’ data.
4. Alcatel / TCL
15. HP / Palm
21. MediaTek / Mstar
23. Miyowa / Hape Esia
24. Motorola / Lenovo
31. Opentech ENG
32. Opera Software**
47. Virgin Mobile
49. Warner Bros
50. Western Digital
52. Zing Mobile*