The government of India is demanding answers over reports about non-consensual Facebook data sharing, having told the world's largest social media company it has until June 20 to respond to the allegations. The development comes in response to an NYT report about Facebook's previously undisclosed partnerships with original equipment manufacturers that allowed companies like Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, and Huawei to glean user data from anyone who logged into the social network through one of their devices and even mine some information about their Facebook friends. While that practice itself is relatively standard in the industry, it prompted controversies due to the fact that OEMs were able of harvesting user data of one's Facebook friends even if those individuals specifically opted out of having their information shared with third parties, thus overriding their privacy settings.
A number of U.S. senators are presently also demanding answers from Facebook over the matter, having called for its co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to revise his April congressional testimonies held in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, another privacy debacle from the firm. The Menlo Park, California-based company said it started winding down its data-sharing partnerships with OEMs several months back, adding that they were fundamentally different to collaborations with third-party app developers as any data relayed through them was and is only meant to be used for improving custom-built Facebook app experiences on various hardware such as smartphones and tablets.
"The Government of India is deeply concerned about reports of such lapses/violations [of user privacy]," New Delhi said in a Thursday statement. The country's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology hasn't clarified what will happen if Facebook fails to comply with its request by June 20. American legislators were particularly critical of Facebook's data-sharing partnerships with OEMs as one such collaboration was also established with Huawei, having been ongoing for close to a decade, with Washington recently targeting the Shenzhen-based firm over national security concerns which Huawei repeatedly dismissed.