Facebook's data-sharing deals reportedly under criminal probe

  • Facebook's data-sharing deals reportedly under criminal probe

Facebook's data-sharing deals reportedly under criminal probe

The data sharing deals were reported by the New York Times in June and December of previous year.

Facebook's disclosure was included in 747 pages of documents given to Congress in response to hundreds of questions about data privacy posed to Zuckerberg by members of Congress about Cambridge Analytica, which improperly accessed personal information on up to 87 million Facebook users.

Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into controversial deals Facebook struck to share its users' data with dozens of tech companies without the users' knowledge, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

"To be clear: none of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people's permission, nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC", wrote Facebook in that blog post.

Other investigators have already been scrutinizing Facebook regarding other matters, including its relationship with Cambridge Analytic, the political firm that nefariously harvested user data and worked with the Trump campaign. The US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of NY declined to confirm or deny the investigation's existence. Facebook did not respond to questions about the focus or nature of the investigation.

"We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously", a Facebook spokesman told TheNYT in a press statement.

Most of those partnerships have ended over the last several years.

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. News of the subpoena comes at a bad moment for Facebook.

In December, following the Times report, Facebook said in a blog entry that these partnerships were necessary to enable certain social features in outside apps, like logging into a Facebook account from a Windows phone, or sharing what Spotify song you were listening to via Facebook Messenger. There have also been reports that the company is negotiating a multi-billion dollar fine with the Federal Trade Commission over the company's privacy failures.