British lawmakers concludes Facebook dealing with third party apps allowing access to personal data of users


New Delhi: Internal emails from Facebook have led British lawmakers to conclude that the social media giant had deals with third party apps that continued to allow access to personal data of users. These emails included some from even CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

An influential UK parliamentary committee looking into fake news released on Wednesday a cache of internal documents between Zuckerberg and employees, highlighting what its chairman called “key issues”.

Several of the 250 pages of documents were marked “confidential” or “highly confidential” and related to issues such as charging developers for data access. Facebook had objected to their release. British MPs have been furious at Zuckerberg for not appearing before the panel.

Damian Collins, chair of the culture, media, sports and digital committee, wrote in an introductory note: “Facebook have clearly entered into whitelisting agreements with certain companies, which meant that after the platform changes in 2014/15 they maintained full access to friends data.”

He added, “It is not clear that there was any user consent for this, nor how Facebook decided which companies should be whitelisted or not.”

The documents suggest Facebook was aware that an update to its Android app that let it collect records of users’ calls and texts would be controversial. “To mitigate any bad PR, Facebook planned to make it as hard as possible for users to know that this was one of the underlying features,” Collins wrote.

The documents also suggest Facebook used data provided by Israeli analytics firm Onavo to determine which mobile apps were being downloaded and used by the public. It then used this knowledge to decide which apps to acquire or treat as a threat.

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