Facebook Allegedly Gave Its Preferred Advertisers ‘Special Access’ to User Data: Report

According to a just-published Washington Post report, Facebook is being accused of giving "select companies preferential access to valuable user data," possibly without the users' consent. The accusation comes from key British lawmaker Damian Collins, chairman of the British Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

"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," Collins said in a statement. "It is not clear that there was any user consent for this, nor how Facebook decided which companies should be whitelisted or not."

Collins and his committee have been investigating Facebook and its relationship with Cambridge Analytica, the highly controversial and supposedly defunct political consulting group that helped Donald Trump win the White House.

The British lawmaker "released a summary of findings along with more than 200 pages of documents Wednesday," the Post adds. Facebook has not denied the authenticity of the documents but "has denied that it offered preferential access to data for major advertisers."

The documents had been sealed by a California court. Facebook is being sued by an app developer.

"Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy whose vice president was Republican strategist Steve Bannon, gained access to data on 87 million users in ways that Facebook has said was improper but resembled a common practice at the time among app developers," the Post reports.

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