Facebook has named telecommunications major Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio’s music application partner Saavn among companies that could have had access to users’ data in the past, PTI reported on Tuesday.
Submissions made to the United States Congress on Friday showed that Airtel was among 52 companies that Facebook had “integration partnerships” with. The partnership is no longer active, Facebook said.
The “integration partners” were not permitted to use the data for independent purposes “unrelated to the approved integration without user consent”, Facebook said in its submission. These partnerships began as a way to allow users to access Facebook through their their phones at a time when it did not have mobile applications for Android and iOS.
Of the 52 partners, 38 have been discontinued and partnerships with eight will end before October, Facebook said.
“The matter pertains to the year 2010 when Airtel was granted access to data by Facebook as an app developer,” an Airtel spokesperson told PTI. “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.”
Saavn, a third-party application, had access to data of users’ friends based on their privacy settings and consent. After Facebook decided to tighten rules in April 2015, it gave apps till May 2015 to comply, but Saavn was among the 61 companies that got six extra months, the submissions showed.