Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

USA prosecutors probing Facebook's data deals

USA prosecutors probing Facebook's data deals

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

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress in April 2018.

As part of the investigation, a NY grand jury has subpoenaed two well-known smartphone makers for records related to the investigation, according to the report.

Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into Facebook's data sharing deals with a number of large technology companies, according to a new report in the New York Times. 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 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.

"We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously", a Facebook spokesman told the Times.

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

The social network's handling of user data has been a flashpoint for controversy since it admitted past year that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, used an app that may have hijacked the private details of 87 million users.

The focus of the grand jury probe was not clear, nor was when it started, according to the Times, which cited unnamed sources.

The grand jury inquiry was on behalf of the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of NY.

Facebook responded by noting that other federal investigations are reportedly underway.

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.

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

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