Facebook probed over data-sharing deals with world’s biggest tech firms

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Meets With Members Of Congress On Capitol Hill

Federal prosecutors in NY have reportedly begun a criminal investigation into Facebook and its data-sharing agreements with at least two smartphone manufacturers.

A NY grand jury has subpoenaed records from two smartphone makers involved in the partnerships, anonymous sources described as familiar with the requests told the Times. Each of these companies had struck agreements with Facebook that allowed them to access users' personal information.

"We've provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged that we will continue to do so", Facebook said in a statement.

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 criminal investigation is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the two billion-member social networking giant. Both of the companies were given access to the personal data of hundreds of millions of Facebook users.

Facebook's stock declined 1.5 per cent in after hours trading on Wednesday.

Social media platform Facebook, Inc.

Facebook has defended the deals.

Facebook had data-sharing arrangements with more than 150 companies, according to a December report in the New York Times.

Facebook gave companies including Netflix, Spotify, Microsoft, Sony and Amazon the ability to access user data long after it had stopped sharing data with most third-parties, the Times revealed. Facebook said in July it had received questions from USA agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI, and was cooperating.

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