Business, Facebook's shared user data with select companies

Business, Facebook's shared user data with select companies

Facebook said that it only allowed access to third party companies for improving user experiences and not to the friends' private information such as photos and interests.

This time the social networking giant has been accused of granting special access to user's data to some selected companies. "That included information like phone numbers and a metric called "friend link" that measured the degree of closeness between users and others in their network".

Internally called "whitelists", these secretive deals "allowed certain companies to access additional information about a user's Facebook friends", the Journal reported, citing court documents and anonymous Facebook officials.

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These data-sharing deals contradict Facebook's own 2014 privacy initiative, which co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said would "dramatically limit the data [that] apps could access".

Facebook's vice president, Ime Archibong said that they have always adopted "consistent and principled approach to how we work with developers over the course of the past 11 years". "A few developers including Nissan and RBC asked for a short extension - and those extensions ended several years ago".

Less than three months after the Cambridge Analytica scandal erupted, it appears Facebook is doing the very thing that first landed it in hot water: sharing user data with other companies.

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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. Still, the Journal reports that it isn't clear when the deals expired or what companies received extensions.

Facebook's alleged whitelist deals weren't part of the existing partnerships with device makers that the company revealed this week, the sources state. Facebook gave select "whitelisted" companies extensions before they were also blocked from getting its users' personal information.

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

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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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