Facebook Gave Data to 61 Firms Despite Assurances

The saga that started with the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to haunt Facebook.

In another questionable revelation about how the world’s largest social media network handled user data, Facebook Inc. (FB) admitted to giving access to user data to more than five dozen companies despite the company earlier saying that it had restricted access to such information in 2015. The findings were revealed late Friday when the company submitted a 747-page document to U.S. lawmakers, according to CNBC.

The document submitted by Facebook to Congress reveals the fine print of the deals Facebook had with software developers and device makers. More importantly, it highlights specific details of the exceptions made by the company to grant such access despite its earlier promises about restricting the same.

Facebook Shared Users' Data

In 2015, the social media giant announced that it had stopped developer access to the data of its users and their friends. However, the recent admission by Facebook indicates that 61 companies were still granted access to users' data for a period of six months. They include companies like AOL, Nike Inc. (NKE), United Parcel Services Inc. (UPS) and the dating app Hinge.

The Facebook report claims that the access was granted as a “one-time extension” that was allowed for a period of six months with an aim “to comply with its policy changes on user data.” The company also indicates that there were at least five other firms that may have accessed user data during the extension period that were granted the necessary privilege “as part of a Facebook experiment.”

The submission adds to the rising number of cases of user data being put out in the open by the world leader in social networking. Earlier in June, The New York Times reported that over the last decade, Facebook struck partnerships to share user data with more than five dozen companies including technology giants like Apple Inc. (AAPL), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), BlackBerry Ltd. (BB), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Samsung. (See also: Facebook Shared User Data with 60+ Companies.)

Facebook had argued then that the deals were signed to allow “device makers to offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, ‘like’ buttons and address books,” as the social media network attempted to expand its reach. However, it led to millions of data points getting revealed by the partner firms. (See also: How Much Can Facebook Potentially Make from Selling Your Data.)

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