Photo: NurPhoto/Getty Images

Some third parties were able to access data about Facebook users' friends even after most third-party developers and their apps were barred from doing so in 2015, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The social network cited its decision to cut off access to this data throughout the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but did not reveal that a select group of companies — referred to internally as "whitelist deals" — still had access to the information.

What they’re saying: A Facebook spokesperson said in an email that the company had extended access to friends’ data to a group of developers in 2015 beyond the cutoff date because they had asked for extra time to deal with the changes in Facebook's policy. The spokesperson described those extensions as brief and said they had not been active for years.

  • The spokesperson also said that sometimes developers could gain third-party access to friends' data during the beta testing of new features.

What Zuckerberg told Congress in April:

"We made some big changes to the Facebook platform in 2014 to dramatically restrict the amount of data that developers can access and to proactively review the apps on our platform. This makes it so a developer today can’t do what Kogan did years ago."

What the Journal's Deepa Seetharaman and Kirsten Grind reported Friday:

"The company said it allowed a 'small number' of partners to access data about a user’s friends after the data was shut off to developers in 2015. ... The vast majority of developers who plugged into Facebook’s platform weren’t aware that the company offered this preferred access or extensions to certain partners, according to the people familiar with the matter."

The big picture: This story, coming right after the furor over Facebook's data sharing with device makers, reinforces the picture of a company that's been less than forthcoming at key moments. That turns even its small decisions into big stories — and leaves the public with the sense that the shoes will never stop dropping.

Go deeper

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The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Trump's vow to name her replacement to the Supreme Court before November's election are amplifying Wall Street's worries about major volatility and market losses ahead of and even after the election.

The big picture: The 2020 election is the most expensive event risk on record, per Bloomberg — with insurance bets on implied volatility six times their normal level, according to JPMorgan analysts. And it could take days or even weeks to count the record number of mail-in ballots and declare a winner.

Election clues county by county

Ipsos and the University of Virginia's Center for Politics are out with an interactive U.S. map that goes down to the county level to track changes in public sentiment that could decide the presidential election.

How it works: The 2020 Political Atlas tracks President Trump's approval ratings, interest around the coronavirus, what's dominating social media and other measures, with polling updated daily — enhancing UVA's "Crystal Ball."

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 31,605,656 — Total deaths: 970,934 Total recoveries: 21,747,491Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,897,432 — Total deaths: 200,814 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: The U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths — The CDC's crumbling reputation — America turns against coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Politics: Elected officials are failing us on much-needed stimulus.
  5. Business: Two-thirds of business leaders think pandemic will lead to permanent changes — Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus.
  6. Sports: NFL fines maskless coaches.

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