FEDERAL PROSECUTORS in New York have reportedly begun a criminal investigation into Facebook and its data-sharing agreements with at least two smartphone manufacturers.
A grand jury has subpoenaed records from the manufacturers, according to the New York Times, which first reported the existence of the criminal probe. The companies are just two of more than 150 tech firms that entered data-sharing deals with Facebook, which allowed the company sweeping access to hundreds of millions of Facebook users’ personal information, including private Facebook messages.
The deals sparked outrage – and have come under sharp scrutiny – since they were revealed in a investigation by the Times last year. The federal investigation in New York, meanwhile, adds to other ongoing investigations of Facebook, including probes by the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Congressional lawmakers have also called attention to the role Facebook played in spreading disinformation during the 2016 presidential election, and the Justice Department is investigating how Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that helped President Donald Trump’s election campaign, obtained Facebook data for some 87 million users.
“We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement to the Times. “We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so.”