Facebook embroiled in fresh privacy row over users’ friends

Facebook embroiled in fresh privacy row over users’ friends

Facebook has found itself at the centre of another privacy scandal following the emergence of reports at the weekend that it had agreed bespoke data-sharing deals with a limited number of companies after the 2015 cut-off date at which it claimed to have ended the practice of sharing such information with developers.

The claims were made by The Wall Street Journal which obtained ‘unreported agreements’ which granted trusted firms the right to access additional information about a user’s own Facebook friends such as phone numbers and the degree of closeness between each user and others in their network – a key metric known as ‘friend link’.

Companies on these ‘whitelists’ include advertisers and partners such as RBC Capital Markets and Nissan, extending the number of businesses with privileged data access.

Facebook is said to have struck these bespoke agreements as a way to improve its user experience and test new features as well as enabling existing partners to ‘wind down’ existing partnerships.

The disclosure will do nothing to assuage critics of the social network which has been battling to project a more secure and privacy-focussed image in the wake of a series of controversies led by the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the data of more than 87 million people was passed on via an app to a political data firm.

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