Facebook let SIXTY companies have 'deep access personal data about users'

"Contrary to claims by the New York Times, friends" information, like photos, was only accessible on devices when people made a decision to share their information with those friends, ' Archibong wrote.

A top congressional Democrat slammed Facebook over a report alleging the company shared its users' personal data with a range of devicemakers. Those APIs were launched by Facebook a decade ago, before app stores were common, and allows device makers to offer Facebook features, such as the Like button and messaging, on their phones.

Though the company claimed that the company's device partners can use the data to only provide "the Facebook experience", these companies can access data about a user's Facebook friends, even those who have denied the social media company permission to share information with third parties. The company apparently gave access to "vast amounts of its users' personal information" to device makers.

But the report raised concerns that massive databases on users and their friends - including personal data and photographs - could be in the hands of device makers as it did with Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress in April to answer questions about data the company provided to third parties about their users. Even users who had turned platform off to avoid this kind of abusive data collection could have their data accessed, the Times found, a serious violation of privacy.

Vladeck said the additional penalties could include a court-ordered monitor of Facebook's business practices, injunctions against particular ways of using of consumers' data or heightened monitoring by the FTC.

However, Facebook blasted back at the Times report, saying the newspaper has misinterpreted the goal and function of its so-called "device-integrated APIs" - the software that allows hardware companies to bridge into Facebook's database to offer versions of the app on their operating systems.

Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Amazon were among the companies who signed up to data sharing agreements using the APIs.

Kogan developed an app that required people to sign in using their Facebook accounts - and that then harvested data about those users and their friends, that was then used by Cambridge Analytica to develop psychological profiles of US voters ahead of the 2016 presidential election. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it seems that the social networking giant has been involved in several similar data sharing scandals.

Facebook's defense: In a detailed blog post, the company said these deals have been closely controlled, and "we are not aware of any abuse by these companies".

According to Archibong, 22 of the partnerships have already ended.

Remember, the company has been in damage-control mode since March, when the Times was among the news organizations that disclosed details about how the mysterious political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica was able to obtain information on tens of millions of Facebook users largely without their knowledge or permission, thanks to an endless series of data barn doors that Facebook had left open. Usually collected when users log into their accounts through the Facebook app.