Facebook Under Criminal Probe for Data Sharing Deals | Financial Buzz

Facebook Under Criminal Probe for Data Sharing Deals

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is facing a criminal probe over data sharing deals with at least two other smartphone and device maker, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing two sources familiar with the matter. Facebook shares edged lower by 2.7% shortly after the opening bell on Thursday.

A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed records from those two companies so far, according to the sources.

Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into the deals with some of the major tech companies Facebook has worked with. It was reported that both of the companies who had an agreement with Facebook had access to personal information of hundreds of millions of its users. Specifically, the data accessed revealed users’ friends, contact information and other data without the consent of the user.

Among Facebook’s partners include Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and Sony (NYSE: SNE).

The data deals allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to map out friends of virtually all Facebook users without their consent, and allowed Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends. Apple was had able to hide from users all indicators that its devices were even asking for data, according to The Times.

“We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. “We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so.”

Facebook’s latest probe comes while its Cambridge investigation is still ongoing. Facebook ran into hot water last year after it was revealed that the social media giant had allowed Cambridge Analytica to harvest hundreds of millions of users data and use it for political purposes.

Earlier this month, Facebook Chief Executive Officer posted a note outlining that he intends for the Company to become more “privacy-focused” and that it will work to protect users’ privacy on the platform.

He revealed that he intends to create a interconnected network between Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, allowing users to message each other regardless of which platform they’re using.

“I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever,” Zuckerberg said on his Facebook post. “This is the future I hope we will help bring about.”