Facebook Faces Criminal
Investigation over Data Handling Partnerships

Facebook’s troubles seem never-ending,
as the company now faces a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors for
its data-sharing practices and partnerships with global tech companies, writes
the New York Times
. More than 150 companies including Netflix, Spotify,
Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Amazon have apparently “cut sharing deals” to get
access to user data without users’ knowledge.

A grand jury has already
subpoenaed documents from big names in the smartphone and gadget manufacturing
industry accused of allegedly gaining access to the data of hundreds of
millions of Facebook accounts.

“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,” say
2017 records obtained by the New York Times in 2018
.

Soon after, Facebook’s
Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Director of Developer Platforms and Programs defended the
partnerships
, claiming “none of these
partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people’s
permission, nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC.”

Shortly before, he explains “this
work was about helping people do two things. First, people could access their
Facebook accounts or specific Facebook features on devices and platforms built
by other companies like Apple, Amazon, Blackberry and Yahoo. These are known as
integration partners. Second, people could have more social experiences – like
seeing recommendations from their Facebook friends – on other popular apps and
websites, like Netflix, The New York Times, Pandora and Spotify.”

This is not the first time the
company has been under scrutiny for alleged shady practices, besides the
Cambridge Analytics scandal that won’t be soon forgotten, which means Facebook
might just be looking at a multibillion-dollar fine from the FTC.

According to privacy advocates, Facebook
allegedly violated an agreement with the FTC for sharing “data in ways that
deceived consumers,” so now officials are investigating multiple accusations.

Facebook is cooperating with law enforcement.