Facebook Inc. struck customized data-sharing deals that gave select companies special access to user records well after the point in 2015 that the social network has said it walled off that information, according to court documents, company officials and people familiar with the matter.
Some of the agreements, known internally as “whitelists,” also allowed certain companies to access additional information about a user’s Facebook FB, +0.49% friends, the people familiar with the matter said. That included information like phone numbers and a metric called “friend link” that measured the degree of closeness between users and others in their network, the people said.
The whitelist deals were struck with companies including Royal Bank of Canada RY, +0.49% and Nissan Motor Co. 7201, -0.82% , who advertised on Facebook or were valuable for other reasons, according to some of the people familiar with the matter. They show that Facebook gave special data access to a broader universe of companies than was previously disclosed. They also raise further questions about who has access to the data of billions of Facebook users and why they had access, at a time when Congress is demanding the company be held accountable for the flow of that data.
Many of these customized deals were separate from Facebook’s data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers, which it disclosed this week. Several lawmakers and regulators have said those device-maker arrangements merit further investigation.
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