Facebook's data deals are now under criminal investigation

Facebook's data deals are now under criminal investigation

Bay Area social media giant Facebook is reportedly under criminal investigation for its data-sharing deals with other tech companies. It reports that both companies had data partnerships with Facebook that gave them access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of users.

Under the terms of those deals, which the Times reported about in June, Facebook allowed device makers including Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft to access personal user data, including friend lists, contact information, and sometimes even private messages - and not always with the user's consent, the report alleged.

"It has already been reported that there are ongoing federal investigations, including by the Department of Justice", a Facebook representative said in a statement.

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Facebook's stock declined 1.5 per cent in after hours trading on Wednesday. Every corporate partner helped drive the platform's expansion and yoke people deeper into Facebook's universe while growing advertisement. Facebook said in July it had received questions from US agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI, and was cooperating. But a criminal investigation would raise the stakes significantly.

Facebook said it was cooperating with investigators in multiple federal probes, without addressing the grand jury inquiry specifically.

The data sharing deals were reported by the New York Times in June and December of past year. At the time, the company strongly disputed that these data partnerships violated users' privacy or the company's 2012 settlement with the FTC. Numerous partnerships ended years ago, the Times noted, but the deals with Amazon and Apple were ongoing at the time of the story.

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