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Facebook's data deals are now under criminal investigation
14 March 2019, 05:30 | Glen Norman
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Those companies were not named in the story, but the Times noted that Facebook has data-sharing partnerships with companies including Microsoft, Apple, Sony and Amazon.
It reports that both companies had data partnerships with Facebook that gave them access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of users.
"We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously", a Facebook spokesman told the Times on Wednesday. "We've provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so".
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"It has already been reported that there are ongoing federal investigations, including by the Department of Justice".
News of the criminal investigation is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the two billion-member social networking giant.
USA government prosecutors are looking into how Facebook shared personal information from hundreds of millions of its users with more than 150 firms, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, sometimes without their consent.
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The Times report emerged on the same day that Facebook saw widespread outages on its apps, including Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Facebook confirmed the investigations in a statement. But a criminal investigation would raise the stakes significantly.
The exact focus of the investigation, however, remains unknown.
Federal prosecutors are investigating data-sharing deals struck between Facebook and makers of mobile computing devices. The deals helped Facebook gain more users, accordingto the report, and its partners were able to access user data without obtaining consent.
But these partnerships also allowed third-party companies to get much deeper access to user data than it had previously made clear.
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