The bipartisan leadership of the House Energy & Commerce Committee is not happy with Facebook's revelation--actually the New York Times' revelation in a story this week--that device manufacturers and other tech companies--Amazon, Apple, Blackberry, HTC, Microsoft and Samsung among them--had access to user data, in some cases where users thought they didn't, according to the story.
In a statement specifically citing the sharing of that info with Chinese tech companies, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member of the committee, said Facebook should have disclosed this information during CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before their committee.
They joined a chorus of Hill critics on both sides of the aisle following the Times story. Facebook says the sharing was controlled, did not violate its privacy policies, and was so that the Facebook "experience" could be extended to various devices and operating systems, as it explained in a blog taking issue with the story.
"The spirit of our questions about third-party access to user data should not have required technical knowledge of the legal agreements Facebook has with device manufacturers to get clear answers for the public," Pallone and Walden said, answers, they added, that they are still waiting for.
Their committee is engaged in an ongoing audit of Facebook data practices--the Federal Trade Commission has also launched an investigation--and Pallone and Walden said they are still waiting for responses from Facebook to written questions following the hearing.