They were part of a group of 61 companies that got temporary exemption from Facebook to a block on apps that accessed details of the friends of a user.

Saavn Airtel had special access to Facebook users data even after 2015
Atom Tech Shorts Thursday, July 05, 2018 - 09:27

The saga of Facebook sharing data with third parties seems to be surfacing at regular intervals. And there is an Indian angle to it now. Media reports have carried details of the submission Facebook made to the US Congress where the company has listed the names of the companies it had entered into agreements to permit them access to information on its site. Interestingly, 2 Indian companies, telecom giant Airtel and music streaming app Saavn, figure in this list. These details were not in the public domain till now.

This new revelation suggests that Facebook had stopped providing the access to many organizations in 2015 and made a statement to that effect. But it appears to have gone ahead and exempted a few app developers and others from this ban and Saavn and Airtel are part of these exempted firms. There is yet another group of firms which enjoyed this exemption as well. It is reported that these firms could access data of members on Facebook only with their permission and they were to follow the revised terms of engagement brought in by Facebook in respect of data privacy under what it called application programming interface.

The details being shared included the gender, name, date of birth, photos and page likes. When it came to information on friends, their consent was also obtained, says Facebook. It followed the practice of evaluating the genuine need for the data before permitting access.

While Saavn has denied that it received any such exemption, Airtel did agree that it had an arrangement with Facebook. Unlike Saavn, the relationship Airtel and 51 more firms has with Facebook was called an “integration partnership”. As of date, there is no clarity on how exactly these firms, including Airtel collected and used these data. However, Airtel says the agreement or partnership itself ended in 2013 and that they had used the information purely for internal purposes.

Also read: Third-party apps go through multi-step review before accessing Gmail messages: Google

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