The social networking giant recently confirmed that it stopped allowing companies access to data in 2015, Engadget reported. Under these special deals, Facebook 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.
The Journal's report capped another tough week for Facebook as it continues to grapple with the fallout from a privacy scandal that erupted almost 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. These extensions were short-term and have long since been terminated, Facebook says. Some lawmakers have asked Facebook to answer questions related to the more recent reports on sharing with device makers. Particularly concerning is the claim that Facebook's deals included, in some cases, more extensive access to data about users' friends. The sources alleged that Facebook shared various user data with these companies, including "friend link" metrics and phone numbers.
According to the report, Facebook reached agreements with a number of major corporations to provide data about the friends of its users.
Facebook's data practices have been under scrutiny since earlier this year when it was revealed analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, had improperly accessed data of 87 million users.
Facebook, in a blog post, pushed back on the Times' reporting, saying the agreements prevented user data from being used other than "to recreate Facebook-like experiences" in the devices.
"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. "We are not aware of any abuse by these companies".
Facebook reportedly gave certain companies preferential treatment as well, setting up "internal teams dedicated to brokering and developing customized data deals".
On Wednesday, Huawei said it never collected or stored Facebook user data, according to the Associated Press.