World News

Facebook Facing Criminal Investigation Into Device Data Share Deals

Facebook Facing Criminal Investigation Into Device Data Share Deals

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

Facebook is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors examining its data-sharing deals with other major technology companies, according to the New York Times. Data shared without users' knowledge included friends' names, genders and birth dates.

But these partnerships also allowed third-party companies to get much deeper access to user data than it had previously made clear. However, Facebook continued sharing information with 61 hardware and software makers after it said it discontinued the practice in May 2015, it said in June.

Manufacturers of mobile devices got an especially sweet deal, according to internal Facebook documents seen by the Times.

But the social network has always said that it was misled by Cambridge Analytica, describing its role in the scandal as having been too lax in policing how other companies were using its service.

More news: Highland MP renews calls for a People's Vote on European Union membership

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this year, reports suggested that Facebook could be hit with the biggest fine ever handed down by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had mined the information of up to 87 million users without their consent.

The exact focus of the investigation, however, remains unknown. The US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of NY declined to confirm or deny the investigation's existence.

A Facebook spokesperson did not address the New York Times story specifically, but told CNN Business, "It has already been reported that there are ongoing federal investigations, including by the Department of Justice".

"We've provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged that we will continue to do so", Facebook said in a statement. News of the subpoena comes at a bad moment for Facebook.


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