Facebook let select companies have "special access" to user data, per report


The social networking giant recently confirmed that it stopped allowing companies access to data in 2015, Engadget reported. Representatives of Facebook, in turn, said that he agreed with a small number of companies, and their main goal is improving interaction with the user, the testing of new features.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited court documents, unnamed Facebook officials and other unnamed sources, Facebook made special agreements with certain companies called "whitelists", which gave them access to extra information about a user's friends.

"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", said Ime Archibong, Facebook's vice president of product partnerships. One former Facebook employee told the Journal, "99 percent of developers were treated the same, but 1 percent got special treatment because they accounted for all the value of the platform". The report indicated that this data pertained to users' friends, such as their phone numbers and a measure of how closely linked individuals were in a shared network of friends.

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"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", Dellinger wrote. "But other than that, things were shut down".

Facebook is back in the controversy spotlight following a new report claiming it had data-sharing deals with some companies.

According to the report, Facebook reached agreements with a number of major corporations to provide data about the friends of its users. Facebook gave select "whitelisted" companies extensions before they were also blocked from getting its users' personal information.

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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.

Per the Journal, Facebook internally called the deals "whitelists", which may be a little bit of insight into how the company viewed the arrangements.

The companies with which the data was shared, used it for the goal of advertising and other purposes.

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