The New York Times reports the federal government has begun a criminal investigation into Facebook’s data sharing deals with many large tech firms. The investigation is just the latest of the social network’s woes as it attempts to deal with recent revelations of less-than-scrupulous business practices.
NYT says a New York grand jury has issued subpoenas to get a look at records from two smartphone makers that had a deal with Facebook for wide-ranging access to personal information from hundreds of millions of Facebook users.
Other companies that have, at one time or another, had a data deal with Facebook include Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Sony.
Facebook has confirmed the investigation, and says it is cooperating.
“We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously,” a spokesman said. “We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so.”
No other details of the Eastern District of New York’s U.S. attorney’s office investigation have been released. It hasn’t been revealed as to when the digging began or what it is focusing on.
This is a lousy time for Facebook to deal with this new investigation, as the company is already scrambling to patch the holes in its public image, due to several scandals.
It was recently revealed that Facebook allowed users to look up other users based on the phone number a user had used for two-factor authentication. The reveal soon had Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledging a priority on privacy. Zuckerberg’s pledge has been largely considered as a publicity stunt.
Prior to that, it was revealed that the FTC and the social network were nearing an agreement on a billion dollar privacy violation fine. The fine resulted from the Cambridge Analytica privacy fiasco during the 2016 presidential election.