Facebook gave unprecedented access to data on its users to a number of global tech companies including Apple, Samsung, Amazon and Microsoft, according to a report in the New York Times.

As part of these data relationships, which the paper said Facebook began shutting down in April, the social networking giant gave companies access to a string of Facebook users data, including sensitive information like relationship status, religion and political preferences.

The ability to access this information, according to the report, was possible even after Facebook users altered their privacy standards to restrict access to such data. It comes as the social networking giant is facing a growing wave of global criticism about how it handles user information.

In response, Facebook said its relationships with these other tech giants was more like a partnership, guaranteeing them greater access to the social networks data compared to other third-party app developers, notably the one connected to scandal-hit data mining firm Cambridge Analytica.

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