Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Facebook faces criminal investigation over controversial data sharing deals

Facebook faces criminal investigation over controversial data sharing deals

Facebook is the subject of a federal criminal investigation that's looking into its data-sharing deals with some of the biggest tech firms on the planet, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg created the partnerships to stave off obsolescence and insulate the massive company from competition.

Facebook seemed to confirm the report by telling the Times it is "cooperating" with investigators.

The New York Times reports that a federal grand jury is investigating company partnerships that provided broad access to the information of millions of Facebook users.

Facebook gave companies including Netflix, Spotify, Microsoft, Sony and Amazon the ability to access user data long after it had stopped sharing data with most third-parties, the Times revealed.

Manufacturers of mobile devices got an especially sweet deal, according to internal Facebook documents seen by the Times. Each of these companies had struck agreements with Facebook that allowed them to access users' personal information.

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"We've provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged that we will continue to do so", Facebook said in a statement.

Facebook is already entangled in a criminal investigation into the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which political consultants used its systems to improperly harvest data from 87 million people.

The exact focus of the investigation, however, remains unknown.

A NY grand jury has subpoenaed records from "at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices", the Times reported, citing two unnamed sources.

Facebook said in June it granted a special "one-time" six-month extension to companies that ranged from AOL to package-delivery service United Parcel Service to dating app Hinge so they could come into compliance with the social network's new privacy policy and create their own versions of Facebook for their devices.

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