Facebook Facing Criminal Investigation Into Device Data Share Deals

Facebook is already facing the prospect of multi-billion dollar fines to settle privacy investigations

Facebook is already facing the prospect of multi-billion dollar fines to settle privacy investigations

USA prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook Inc struck with some of the world's largest technology companies, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. Facebook stated that it is cooperating with investigators.

"We've provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so", it said in a statement. The US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of NY declined to confirm or deny the investigation's existence.

News of the criminal investigation is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the two billion-member social networking giant. The Department of Justice began probing the Silicon Valley company after a report showed Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, used the platform to improperly obtained data on 87 million people to help President Donald Trump's campaign.

Facebook's stock declined 1.5 per cent in after hours trading on Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors are investigating data-sharing deals struck between Facebook and makers of mobile computing devices
APFederal prosecutors are investigating data-sharing deals struck between Facebook and makers of mobile computing devices

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. But a criminal investigation would raise the stakes significantly.

Following the report in the New York Times past year, the company said, "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". Facebook did not respond to questions about the focus or nature of the investigation. Facebook has said the partnerships were well-publicized at the time, and that it has since shut majority down.

"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.

The investigation reportedly stems from partnerships Facebook formed with more than 100 other companies, such as Microsoft, Netflix, and Spotify.

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