The recent New York Times report alleging expansive data sharing between Facebook and device makers shows that Facebook has a lot of work to do to come clean with its users and to provide transparency into who has their data. We raised these transparency issues with Facebook in March and those concerns drove our decision to pause our advertising on the platform. Despite congressional testimony and major PR campaigns to the contrary, Facebook apparently has yet to fundamentally address these issues.
In its response, Facebook has argued that device partnerships are somehow special and that the company has strong contracts in place to prevent abuse. While those contracts are important, they don’t remove the need to be transparent with users and to give them control. Suggesting otherwise, as Facebook has done here, indicates the company still has a lot to learn.