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Facebook shared user data with select companies after cutting off others

Facebook shared user data with select companies after cutting off others
Facebook said the special extensions expired before the end of 2015. (Loic Venance / AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook Inc. 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.

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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 network, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The information shows Facebook “gave special data access to a broader universe of companies than was previously known,” the Journal report said.

Facebook confirmed the report, acknowledging the information was given to a “small number” of companies including Nissan Motor Co., advertisers and other business partners.

The companies had access to the data during a stretch of time in 2015 after Facebook locked out most developers who build apps that work on its social network. Facebook gave extensions to select “whitelisted” companies before they were also blocked from getting its users’ personal information.

Those extensions expired before the end of 2015, Facebook said. The company said it believes the previously unreported extensions with a select group of companies is consistent with previous statements that Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has made, including in testimony to Congress, about shielding its users’ personal information from third parties since 2015.

3:30 p.m.: This article was updated with confirmation from Facebook and additional details.

This article was originally published at 3:20 p.m.

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