Facebook faces criminal investigation over user data deals

A latest report from The New York Times outlines details of a criminal investigation in the US into Facebook’s past dealings with user data and the companies involved in the scheme.

A grand jury has subpoenaed records from “two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices” to get to the bottom of the data deals with Facebook. This is according to “two people familiar with the requests” who remain anonymous.

According to the sources, both of these companies had partnerships with Facebook that granted them access to the personal information of its users. We wonder if the two subpoenaed companies will be revealed in the future.

At this moment, it isn’t clear what the criminal investigation is focusing and although Facebook declined to comment on The Times’ questions pertaining to the nature of the investigation, it did offer a statement that confirmed the investigation is indeed going on.

We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously… We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so. – Facebook spokesperson to The Times

Facebook is still under an ongoing investigation following the Cambridge Analytica scandal surrounding the 2015 Quiz app that allowed unauthorized access to user data that was then used to influence the 2016 United States Presidential election. After nearly a year of trying to win trust back from its users, this new report from The Times surfaces.

Soon after the Cambridge Analytica scandal was publicized, Facebook made it easier for users to check their privacy settings and Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg made a multi-bullet-point pledge towards how it will protect user data from that point on. Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram was offline for a lot of folks today, we wonder if this report has any correlation to that.


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