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Facebook's data deals said to be under criminal investigation

NYT: Facebook facing criminal investigation

Facebook's data deals with major electronics manufacturers are under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors, The New York Times reports.

A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed information from at least two companies known for making smartphones and other devices, the newspaper reports, citing two unnamed people familiar with the request. 

More than 150 companies had struck data partnerships with Facebook that gave them access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of users, although the data was sometimes shared without consent, the report said. The investigation comes as Facebook continues to struggle with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal. 

Facebook describes those data deals as innocuous efforts to help smartphone makers provide Facebook features to users before the social network had its own app.

The Times reports that it isn't clear when the inquiry began or exactly what it's focusing on. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

However, the company made a statement on its Twitter press account Wednesday evening saying it has "already been reported that there are ongoing federal investigations," including by the Department of Justice. Facebook wrote that it's "cooperating w/ investigators and take those probes seriously." 

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