In light of yesterday’s revelation by internet and social media giant Facebook about how it had data-sharing arrangements with several global smartphone manufacturers, the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Warner has issued letters to both Alphabet Inc. (parent company of Google) and Twitter, about any similar arrangements having been reached by them in a similar manner, if at all. In a statement of response, Alphabet Inc. said that while it did have such agreements with manufacturers all around the world, those agreements did not grant access to these partners for user data, maintaining their commitment to responsibly store and handle this data. Twitter was not available for immediate comment.
Of great concern to lawmakers, politicians and the general public of the United States has been an admission by Facebook that it had partnerships based around the sharing of data with mobile and smartphone manufacturers around the world, and that these arrangements were intended to create better user experiences for Facebook on the smart devices that these manufacturers would be making. However, it was discovered that these arrangements were not communicated to Facebook users, and allowed these manufacturers to access user data such as the friends that the individual user was connected to on the social media platform.
As more details come to light, users and governments alike are scrambling to understand the real extent of such partnerships between social media companies and the producers of the devices that users will use to access this information on.