Facebook shared personal information culled from its users’ profiles with other companies after the date when executives have said the social network prevented third-party developers from gaining access to the data, the company confirmed Friday.
The records included information about the friends of Facebook users, including phone numbers and breakdowns analyzing the degrees of separation between people on the social networks, according to a Wall Street Journal report .
In its confirmation of the story, Facebook acknowledged the information was given to a “small number” of companies including RBC Capital Markets and Nissan Motor Co., advertisers and other business partners.
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The companies had access to the data during a stretch of time in 2015 after Facebook had locked out most developers who build apps that work on its social network. Facebook gave select “whitelisted” companies extensions before they were also blocked from getting its users’ personal information.
Those extensions expired before the end of 2015, Facebook said. The company believes the previously unreported extensions with a select group of companies is consistent with previous statements that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made, including in testimony to Congress, about shielding its 2.2 billion users’ personal information from third parties since 2015.
“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,” Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships, said in a written statement.
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The Journal’s report capped another tough week for Facebook as it continues to grapple with the fallout from a privacy scandal that erupted nearly three months ago with the revelation that a data mining firm tied to President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign had scooped up the personal information of 87 million users.
Facebook recently has disclosed it has been sharing its users’ information with about 60 device makers, including Facebook and Samsung. Shortly afterward, the company revealed that a software bug caused the posts of about 14 million users to be shared publicly even if they didn’t intend to share the information beyond a small circle.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.