Facebook gave Airtel and Saavn access to users' personal data even after 2015

Saavn's name figured among those companies who were given time till May 2015 to comply with rules.

Telecom major Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio's music app partner Saavn are among companies that could have had access to data of social media major Facebook, according to the submissions made by the US-based firm to the Congress.

The company has named Airtel among firms having integration partnerships with Facebook. "Integration partners were not permitted to use data received through Facebook APIs for independent purposes unrelated to the approved integration without user consent," Facebook said in its submission.

The integration partners of the company to build ways for Facebook users to receive Facebook or Facebook features on their device or network within platform use policies of the social media firm.
According to the information shared by Facebook, its partnership with Airtel is no longer in force.

A figurine is seen in front of the Facebook logo. Image: Reuters

A figurine is seen in front of the Facebook logo. Image: Reuters

When contacted Airtel spokesperson said that the matter pertains to the year 2010 when Airtel was granted access to data by Facebook as an app developer. The project ended in 2013 and so did the access to the data. "We confirm that the data was used only for our internal purposes. We take data privacy extremely seriously and follow a zero-tolerance policy on the same," he further added.

Facebook named Saavn music app, in which Reliance Jio has invested, among those that have access to users' friend's data based on privacy setting of the friend or only after consent of the friend whose data is to be collected by the third party application.

The US-based social media firm said that in April 2014, the company decided to tighten rules on its platform to prevent abuse. "At that time we made clear that existing apps would have a year to transition at which point they would be forced to migrate to the more restricted API and be subject to Facebook's new review and approval protocols. The vast majority of companies were required to make the changes by May 2015," Facebook said.

Saavn's name figured among those companies who were given time till May 2015 to comply with rules. An e-mail query sent to Saavn elicited no immediate reply.

According to a report by the Economic Times, in a 747-page document submitted by Facebook to the Congress, the tech giant said that Airtel and Saavn were allowed to use the data even after 2015 when both the companies were exempted from using it. It further said that Saavn was given a leeway of one year to make sure that their API's were complaint with Facebook's policy.

Contradicting Facebook's statement, Airtel's spokesperson reportedly said that its access to data had ended in 2013 along with the project it was working and also confirmed that the data was used for internal purposes only.

With inputs from the Press Trust of India





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