Facebook faces criminal investigation over controversial data sharing deals

Report Facebook Under Criminal Investigation

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 CEO Mark Zuckerberg created the partnerships to stave off obsolescence and insulate the massive company from competition. "We've provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so". At the time, the company strongly disputed that these data partnerships violated users' privacy or the company's 2012 settlement with the FTC. But given the subpoenas, prosecutors seem to be looking at special arrangements Facebook made with companies to give them access to users' data (sometimes without consent), despite platform changes in 2014 that restricted the practice.

"We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously", said a company spokesman.

The Times' report was released on Wednesday evening, while Facebook was dealing with a major outage.

But the social network has always said that it was misled by Cambridge Analytica, describing its role in the scandal as having been too lax in policing how other companies were using its service.

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The Times reports that it is not clear when the inquiry began or exactly what it is focusing on.

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

The data sharing deals were reported by the New York Times in June and December of a year ago.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook is already facing the prospect of multi-billion dollar fines to settle privacy investigations by the US Federal Trade Commission and other agencies.

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