Feds Investigate Facebook's Data-Sharing Partnerships

Federal prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into Facebook, which focuses on its data-sharing partnerships with other top tech companies.

Sources tellThe New York Times a grand jury in New York just subpoenaed records from some top smartphone makers. Companies that rely on Facebook for access to consumers’ personal information include Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.

In general terms, Facebook said it was cooperating with the investigation.



“We’ve provided public testimony, answered question, and pledged that we will continue to do so,” a company spokesperson stated on Wednesday.

Lawmakers have been looking into Facebook’s data tracking practices for some time.

In light of a recent report accusing the company of spying on consumers’ most sensitive information, critics called for new investigations into the company.

In particular, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was directing state agencies to investigate what he called “the invasion of consumer privacy. I also call on relevant federal regulators to step up and help us put an end to this practice and protect the rights of consumers,” Cuomo said last month.

Published by The Wall Street Journal, the report in question found Facebook gathers sensitive information that consumers share with apps -- even when consumers are not logged into the social network.

Last year, Facebook told Congress it collects information “from and about the computers, phones, connected TVs and other web-connected devices our users use that integrate with our products. We combine this information across a user’s different devices.”

As Facebook sees it, all this tracking is necessary to offer consumers the personalized -- and free -- experiences they have come to expect.

“Our core service involves personalizing all content, features and recommendations that people see on Facebook services,” the company told Congress, last year. “No two people have the same experience on Facebook or Instagram. They come to our services because they expect everything they see to be relevant to them.”
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