Facebook provided user data to some third parties after promising to limit access: report

Facebook provided user data to some third parties after promising to limit access: report
© Getty

Facebook reportedly made agreements to share certain user data with a handful of companies even after it had said it no longer allowed such practices, raising new questions about the company’s privacy policies.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Facebook reached deals with Royal Bank of Canada, Nissan Motor Company and other organizations that advertised on Facebook. The agreements gave those companies access to users’ phone numbers and information on their friends on the social network.

Facebook said it walled off outside access to user data in 2015, but it reportedly gave certain companies extended access, including Royal Bank of Canada.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We take seriously our responsibility to protect customer privacy and we do not share individual client information with Facebook or other advertisers,” a spokesman for Royal Bank of Canada told The Wall Street Journal.

The latest report of data-sharing on Facebook comes after The New York Times reported that the platform formed data-sharing partnerships with tech giants including Apple and Samsung. The deals gave device makers access to users’ information, such as relationship status and political affiliation. 

In a statement Monday, Facebook said the agreement with Apple and other firms allowed users to streamline their Facebook experience before the app store made it possible to do so. The company added that device makers did not abuse the access to information.

Facebook faced intense scrutiny from users and lawmakers earlier this year after it was reported that British data firm Cambridge Analytica harvested data from millions of users without their consent. That scandal prompted speculation that the company could face government regulation. Following news about Cambridge Analytica's use of data during the 2016 election, Facebook further tightened their restrictions on third-party access to user data.