Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is facing criticism from lawmakers over the news that Facebook allowed Amazon, Apple, Blackberry and other device manufacturers to access users' information.
"The new revelations that Facebook provided access to users' personal information, including religion, political preferences, and relationship status, to dozens of mobile device manufacturers without users' explicit consent are deeply concerning," Senators Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) write.
They add that the news raises questions about whether the company violated its consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. That settlement -- which grew out of allegations that Facebook was sharing users' information without their consent -- prohibits the company from misrepresenting the extent to which it makes users' information available to third parties. Facebook is already under investigation by the FTC over revelations that Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest up to 87 million users' data.
On Sunday, The New York Timesreported that Facebook gave dozens of device manufacturers access to information about users, in order to help the manufacturers build Facebook apps and integrate the service into mobile operating systems. The Times said that device manufacturers were able to learn information about users' friends, even when they told Facebook not to share information.
Facebook said Monday that the information it shared "enabled other companies to recreate the Facebook experience." The company also said that device manufacturers "signed agreements that prevented people’s Facebook information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences."
Markey and Blumenthal are now asking Zuckerberg to answer a host of questions, including what data security and privacy requirements were, in the contracts with the device manufacturers.
The lawmakers also want to know whether Facebook can confirm that none of the device manufacturers misused users' data.
The senators also are asking Zuckerberg about whether sharing users' information with device manufacturers is consistent with his recent testimony to Congress, including his statement that users have "complete control" over how their information is shared.