Facebook Inc. made agreements with at least 60 makers of phones and other devices that gave them access to the personal information of users’ friends without their consent, the New York Times reported Monday, citing company officials.
The companies involved include Apple Inc. AAPL, +1.15% BlackBerry Ltd. BB, +2.06% Microsoft Corp. MSFT, +0.47% and Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.66% the paper reported. The agreements allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers features, such as messaging, “like” buttons and address books.
The scope of the partnerships has not been reported before and raises concerns about the company’s privacy protections, as well as compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission.
Most of the agreements are still in place, though Facebook FB, -0.41% began to wind them down in April, after coming under scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators over data used by Cambridge Analytica, which has declared bankruptcy.
Facebook has said that the access granted to Cambrdige Analytica, a political consultancy, in 2014 was cut off by 2015, when the company explicitly banned developers from collecting data on users’ friend. But it did not disclose that the makers of phones and tablets were excluded from the ban.
Facebook said Monday in a blog post that it “controlled [APIs] tightly from the get-go” and that the device makers it partnered with “signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences.”
Facebook also said that its