Facebook is involved in another scandal involving improper access to its user data. This time, the site has admitted that it gave dozens of companies access to the data, even after it claimed to have restricted access to such data back in 2015.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook handed a 747-page document over to U.S. lawmakers on Friday (June 29). Within that report, the social media giant said it granted 61 companies – including AOL, Nike, UPS and dating app Hinge – a "one-time" six-month extension to comply with its policy changes on user data.
Despite saying in 2015 that it had cut off developer access to its users’ data and their friends, the company disclosed it was still sharing information of users’ friends, such as name, gender, birth date, current city or hometown, photos and page likes.
In addition, five other companies “theoretically could have accessed limited friends’ data” due to access granted as part of a Facebook experiment.
While Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships, acknowledged the preferred deals, he added that they were forged with individual developers to test new features or to wind down products. He also said that the company maintained a “consistent and principled approach to how we work with developers over the course of the past 11 years.”
This is Facebook's second attempt to answer lawmakers' questions after it was revealed that the data of up to 87 million users may have been shared with controversial research firm Cambridge Analytica.
In April, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled on Capitol Hill about the company's role in the scandal. Over a nearly five-hour span, Zuckerberg fielded questions from legislators on most of the things Facebook has apologized for “breaking” over the last several years, including fake news, Russian infiltration of the American election system, monopolistic business practices, racial targeting, mayhem broadcast live on its platform, hate speech, cyber bullying, data privacy and genocide in Myanmar.