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Lax policies around sharing data with third parties led to the leak of Facebook user information to consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

Here's what you need to know. Why did the company wait until April of this year - years after it first learned of what Cambridge Analytica was doing - to start dismantling these contracts?

This is coming a few months after it was revealed that the social networking giant had shared data of up to 87 million users with Cambridge Analytica, which may have influenced the U.S. 2015 elections. Facebook refutes that the APIs shared users' friends' data.

Who still has access and why?

Apple will also block some of its devices' unique characteristics such as fonts and software plugins to stop "clever and relentless" data companies from constructing a "fingerprint" for users to track their behaviour.

On the Hill, Senator Richard Blumenthal said the new reports showed that Facebook "has failed to come clean with the American people about the extent, the scope and the scale, of data sharing". It also gathered "identifying information for almost 295,000 Facebook users" by retrieving data on second-degree contacts, the newspaper said. A Times reporter logged into his Facebook account on that app, gaining access not only to detailed information about 556 friends, including sensitive stuff about religious and political leanings, but also to identifying information on 294,258 friends-of-friends.

The access comes from partnerships Facebook made with about 60 mobile device companies starting in 2007.

What does that software do with the data?

"I would never have imagined that this might even be happening secretly via deals with device makers".

The Times said the Facebook messages and data were routed to a BlackBerry app called the Hub, which was created to aggregate and centralize instant messages, emails, text messages and notifications from many sources, including social-networking services.

"Now, if you do want to interact with [a plugin] or one of these apps tries to access this information, you get a [pop-up notice] and you can decide to keep your information private", Federighi said.

The Federal Trade Commission in March confirmed it was investigating Facebook privacy practices.

Amazon and Samsung haven't yet provided comment.

Microsoft said its API access ended in 2008, adding that the bridge was used to do things like add contacts and receive notifications, and that all data was stored locally on the user's device.

It's potentially a very big problem for Facebook.

According to The New York Times, Facebook did this even after it declared it would no longer share such "deep access" with external companies. Most notably, this was done after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that now has governments across the world demanding more protection for consumers.

6/ And this April, Mark Zuckerberg told Congress: "So now, when people sign in to an app, you do not bring some of your friends' information with you".

"You might think that Facebook or the device manufacturer is trustworthy".

Facing new accusations about how it handles users' data, Facebook says "we disagree" with reports that the company exposed a wealth of private information to other tech giants as part of its plan to become ubiquitous on mobile devices.

'This was flagged internally as a privacy issue, ' in 2012 said Parakilas, who left Facebook that year and is now a harsh critic of the company. However, most of the partnerships still remain in effect, the NYT reports.

"Partners could not integrate the user's Facebook features with their devices without the user's permission", Ime Archibong, Facebook's VP of product partnerships, wrote in a blog post.


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