REPORT: Facebook Gave Secret Access To User Data To Companies

Kyle Perisic | Contributor

Facebook reportedly gave phone companies “special access to user records” for years after claiming it ended a data sharing practice in 2015.

The arrangements, called “whitelists,” gave certain companies access to information such as phone numbers and a metric called “friend link” that determines how close users are to each other, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday citing court documents and sources familiar with the matter.

Some of the companies include the Royal Bank of Canada and Nissan Motor Company, but Facebook would not provide a full list of the companies to Ars Technica.

Facebook allowed some companies to have “short-term extensions” to this user data after it ended it practice that allowed users to share their Facebook friends information in 2014 that went into effect in 2015, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships Ime Archibong to The WSJ.

“But other than that, things were shut down,” Archibong said. (RELATED: Leaked Docs Show Facebook Links Poop Emoji With Hate Speech)

“For the most part this is a rehash of last week-end’s New York Times story — namely that we built a set of device integrated APIs used by around 60 companies to create Facebook-like experiences,”Archibong wrote, Ars Technica reported on Friday.

“In April 2018, we announced that we were winding these down. In terms of our Platform APIs, the Journal has confused two points. In 2014, all developers were given a year to switch to the new, more restricted version of the API. A few developers including Nissan and RBC asked for a short extension — and those extensions ended several years ago. Any new ‘deals’, as the Journal describes them, involved people’s ability to share their broader friends’ lists — not their friends’ private information like photos or interests — with apps under the more restricted version of the API.”

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