Criminal investigation into Facebook deals with Apple, Amazon, Microsoft

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pauses while testifying before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election and data privacy

Facebook said in a statement to the New York Times that it is cooperating with investigators. According to the report, which was published in December, "Facebook allowed Microsoft's Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users' friends without consent. and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users' private messages".

The grand jury inquiry was on behalf of the United States attorney's office for the Eastern District of NY. Congressional lawmakers have also called attention to the role Facebook played in spreading disinformation during the 2016 presidential election, and the Justice Department is investigating how Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that helped President Donald Trump's election campaign, obtained Facebook data for some 87 million users.

The company has been juggling a number of scandals and investigations since the Cambridge Analytica revelations almost a year ago. Both companies entered into large and complex data deals with Facebook, allowing all the firms involved in the partnership to collect vast troves of information on millions of users.

A grand jury in NY recently subpoenaed two companies that make smartphones and other gadgets, people familiar with the requests told the Times.

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Facebook is already facing the prospect of multi-billion dollar fines to settle privacy investigations.

Facebook has defended the deals. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment. A grand jury investigation is "serious" and suggests the company as a long way to go to regain the trust of users after two years of privacy and security-related scandals, CNBC said.

Facebook's data sharing deals are coming under hard scrutiny by American federal investigators.

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