Feds Are Investigating Data Deals Facebook Struck With Several Big Tech Firms

Facebook under criminal investigation over data sharing with tech firms - report

Federal prosecutors are probing Facebook's illicit data-sharing partnerships, reportedly subpoenaing data from smartphone manufacturers as the regulatory walls appear to close in on the beleaguered social media firm. According to the report, which was published in December, "Facebook allowed Microsoft's Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users' friends without consent. and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users' private messages".

Facebook had earlier this year been revealed to have data sharing partnerships with companies like Microsoft, Apple and Sony which had allowed the firm to access user's friends and contact information.

The probe constitutes a sharp escalation of Facebook's legal problems in the U.S., where it is under scrutiny from four separate government agencies, including the United States justice department, as well as from legislators.

Facebook has defended the deals. 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.

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Facebook admitted in June that it provided dozens of tech companies with special access to user data after publicly saying it restricted such access in 2015.

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

Facebook said it was cooperating with investigators in multiple federal probes, without addressing the grand jury inquiry specifically. Facebook did not respond to questions about the focus or nature of the investigation.

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

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