Facebook Handed Over Friends Data To RBC & Others…. Even When They Said They Weren’t

A new report from The Wall Street Journal details how Facebook granted a number of companies special access to additional data about users’ friends. Specifically phone numbers and “friend links,” which measures the degree of closeness between a user and their friends.

One troubling aspect to this story is that Facebook was doing so even after the point in 2015 when the company claimed it stopped sharing such data. Which means that Facebook was lying about what it was doing with user data. Some companies were even granted extensions on accessing this data.

Another troubling aspect to this story if you are Canadian is the fact that Facebook apparently handed this data over to RBC which is one of the biggest banks in Canada. One wonders what RBC was doing with that data. Well, here’s what they said:

One granted an extension was Royal Bank of Canada, which created an app that allowed RBC users to send money to one another—similar to Venmo, a startup now owned by PayPal Inc. RBC was granted a six-month extension after the May 2015 deadline Facebook imposed on developers when it shut off data access, an RBC spokesman said.

“We take seriously our responsibility to protect customer privacy and we do not share individual client information with Facebook or other advertisers,” the spokesman said.

I think RBC customers deserve a better answer than that. I say that because we don’t know why RBC was accessing user data on Facebook in the first place. They truly need to answer that as right now, RBC’s actions look as shady as Facebook’s actions.

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