Before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, the company struck deals to share user data with at least 60 device manufacturers – including Apple, Amazon, and Samsung – the New York Times reported.
The report stated that the deals let Facebook expand its reach, and gave manufacturers access to popular Facebook features such as messaging, like buttons, and contact information that could be synchronised with address books.
Much like the Facebook Login feature previously available to app developers, which led to the Cambridge Analytica saga, Facebook gave device makers access to the data of users’ friends without explicit consent.
In certain instances, manufacturers could retrieve personal information from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing.
This sharing of user data continued even after Facebook declared that it would stop sharing such data with outsiders, according to the New York Times.
It added that most of the data sharing agreements remain in place, but Facebook has started shutting them down after the controversy around Cambridge Analytica was exposed.