Facebook reportedly under criminal investigation for secret data-sharing deals

Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images North America

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images North America

The newspaper says a grand jury in NY has subpoenaed information from at least two companies known for making smartphones and other devices, citing two unnamed people familiar with the request. This is according to “two people familiar with the requests” who remain anonymous.

The Times had previously reported on its finding that Facebook had partnered with companies, including smartphone makers, and allowed them to access the private data of hundreds of millions of its users without their permission - and even in ways that appear to have intentionally avoided asking for permission. We wonder if the two subpoenaed companies will be revealed in the future.

UPDATE: March 13, 2019, 5:17 p.m. PDT In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said the company is cooperating with investigators.

As if today couldn't get any worse for Facebook, the company is now facing a criminal investigation as the result of its controversial data sharing practices.

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Facebook has been struggling to rehabilitate its public image amid revelations that it allowed Cambridge Analytica to improperly access the personal data of many of its users and the growing evidence of how its social network has been used to spread misinformation during the 2016 US Presidential elections.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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.

News of the investigation comes exactly one week after Mark Zuckerberg published a lengthy memo outlining his vision to turn Facebook into a "privacy-focused" platform.

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