NYT tars Apple, again, in Facebook’s leaky tar pit

For the second time in six months, a New York Times investigative report lumps the one tech giant that isn’t built on monetizing user data with the giants that are.

In June, Apple appeared in the subhed:

Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends

The company formed data-sharing partnerships with Apple, Samsung and dozens of other device makers, raising new concerns about its privacy protections

But in its reporting, the Times provided no evidence of Apple abuse:

In interviews with The Times, Facebook identified other partners: Apple and Samsung, the world’s two biggest smartphone makers, and Amazon, which sells tablets.

An Apple spokesman said the company relied on private access to Facebook data for features that enabled users to post photos to the social network without opening the Facebook app, among other things. Apple said its phones no longer had such access to Facebook as of last September.

Samsung declined to respond to questions about whether it had any data-sharing partnerships with Facebook. Amazon also declined to respond to questions.

Today’s front-page story, As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants, uses the June story to justify taking a second look at Apple:

Facebook’s internal records also revealed more about the extent of sharing deals with over 60 makers of smartphones, tablets and other devices, agreements first reported by The Times in June. [see above]

Facebook empowered Apple to hide from Facebook users all indicators that its devices were asking for data. Apple devices also had access to the contact numbers and calendar entries of people who had changed their account settings to disable all sharing, the records show.

Apple officials said they were not aware that Facebook had granted its devices any special access. They added that any shared data remained on the devices and was not available to anyone other than the users.

My take: This stuff must drive Apple PR crazy.


  1. S Lawton said:
    Facebook is just digging itself in deeper and deeper. I never could understand why you’d want to put so much of yourself out there and that is why I never signed up.

    December 19, 2018
  2. David Emery said:
    The scariest thing about FB is its willingness to opaquely monitor what they show you. For example, yesterday I got a notification that they arbitrarily changed settings on some of my groups from “all posts” to “most important” – and you know whose algorithms determine what is ‘important’! Add to that the statistic I heard that 50% of people get their news from FB, and it’s clear to me that Zuckerberg runs a much larger, more effective influence engine than even Putin can imagine!

    And then there’s “we mine your data to show you better ads.” FB arbitrarily decided that I live in Fargo ND. That’s a good 2000 miles from New Hampshire (and it wouldn’t take much competence in algorithms to deduce that, if I look at groups of ‘stuff for sale in Strafford County NH’, I probably live in that part of the world. Maybe, though, the idea is FB shows someplace outlandish and hopes I’ll disclose my true location. Nope, not gonna happen.

    And there’s the hundreds (literally) of ads from car dealers and real estate agents across the country. Someone snared some FB credentials and sold them. (That should be illegal in the GDRP – I think a case is pending on this in Europe-, and the US should adopt similar laws.)

    But as another post pointed out, Apple is using its notifications systems to send Apple ads, in violation of Apple’s own policies.

    December 19, 2018
  3. Fred Stein said:
    I’m going to write an expose of the paper producers who provide the paper that the NYT prints on. Clear collusion. And I have unnamed sources in a position to know.

    December 19, 2018
  4. Peter Kropf said:
    Hadn’t no†iced this:

    “But as another post pointed out, Apple is using its notifications systems to send Apple ads, in violation of Apple’s own policies.”

    Any more info or links?

    December 19, 2018

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