Facebook and Apple echo BlackBerry’s in response to New York Times article.
As I initially read the post in the New York Times that claimed even more privacy concerns about Facebook, I got really caught up in the method the author used to test it. Primarily because he used a BlackBerry Z10 running BB10. It is a device and operating system I know very well, and the method described in the post, would simply not work. In fact, I wondered if the original posts author understood what data needed to be transmitted back and forth in order for a Facebook application to work.
In the Times post, they quoted a statement from BlackBerry that stated that they only used Facebook data only to give its own customers access to their Facebook networks and messages. This makes complete sense. Little did I know at the time I wrote my last post, that both Facebook and Apple also responded to the post, and echoed the same sentiments gave by BlackBerry.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told NPR that there was no agreement between Facebook and Apple for this data. In fact he went on to state, “The things mentioned in the Times article about relationship statuses and all these kinds of stuff, this is so foreign to us, and not data that we have ever received at all or requested — zero” So, if BlackBerry used Facebook API’s in order for users to “access Facebook networks and messages”, what did Apple use it for? Cook explained, “What we did was we integrated the ability to share in the operating system, make it simple to share a photo and that sort of thing.”
Facebook posted their own blog post as an explanation. According to Facebook, private API’s were developed for device makers so that device makers could develop their own Facebook applications for their devices. “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,” explains the blog post.
I would never defend Facebook if there was evidence of a privacy violation. I don’t believe however that allowing device makers to make applications so that users can choose to sign in and use Facebook as they wish on their device of choice qualifies as a privacy violation. The New York Times may want this to be the case, but information readily available on Facebook showing up on an approved Facebook application hardly qualifies as such.