Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

Facebook shared user data with select companies

Facebook shared user data with select companies

According to Facebook, they claimed that they had cut off developer access to data of users and their friends in 2015 following the discovery that Cambridge Analytica had abused its access. The social networking giant recently confirmed that it stopped allowing companies access to data in 2015, Engadget reported.

Through the whitelists, partnering companies received information such as phone numbers of the users' friends and a metric called "friend link", which measured the closeness between the user and the friend, according to the Journal.

Facebook said following the WSJ report it inked deals with a small number of developers that gave them access to users' friends after the more restrictive policy went into effect. "But other than that, things were shut down", Archibong said. "A few developers including Nissan and RBC asked for a short extension - and those extensions ended several years ago". In the past two weeks, the New York Times reported that Facebook had data-sharing contracts with 60 device makers - including Apple, Samsung and the Chinese manufacturers Huawei and Lenovo.

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Facebook's deals with Huawei drew special scrutiny, as heads of CIA, FBI, NSA and the director of US national intelligence in February warned Americans from using Huawei devices because they were concerned the company shared data with the Chinese government.

Disclosure of the deals punctures a hole in the picture Facebook has tried to paint as a suddenly user-friendly, privacy-minded company after 2014-not that anyone was buying that image anyway. Particularly concerning is the claim that Facebook's deals included, in some cases, more extensive access to data about users' friends.

The arrangements with device makers and software bug issue are likely to be examined by the Federal Trade Commission.

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The scrutiny dates back to a time when Facebook, in a bid to get many more people to join the service, gave third parties who created an app on the Facebook platform access to the personal information of Facebook users including friend lists, interests and "likes".

Facebook is already facing severe backlash globally for improperly sharing personal data of up to 87 million people with UK-based Cambridge Analytica.

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