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US Prosecutors Investigate Facebook's Data-Sharing Deals

The news follows a long, tumultuous period of scandal around Facebook and its privacy practices.

Facebook is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors, who are looking into the social giant's data-sharing deals with major technology companies, The New York Times reports.

In December 2018, the NYT revealed how Facebook shared unknowing users' data with Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, and more than 150 other tech firms, retailers, entertainment sites, and media outlets. The companies participating in these data-sharing deals owned applications seeking information on hundreds of millions of people each month. As part of the deals, partnering companies have been allowed to view users' friends, contact info, and other data, sometimes without consent. Most have been shut down in the past two years.

Now, a New York grand jury has subpoenaed records from "at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices," the NYT says, citing two people familiar with the requests. The two companies had reportedly made data-sharing agreements with Facebook, which is also under scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the Justice Department, following the 2018 Cambridge Analytica incident.

This news follows a long, tumultuous period of scandal around Facebook and its privacy practices. Last week CEO Mark Zuckerberg published a lengthy essay detailing his plans for a more privacy-oriented future. But as this new investigation shows, the company still has a long way to go to address the decisions it has made in the past.

Read more details here.



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