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Facebook outage and criminal probe

March 14, 2019

Adding to the problem of its biggest outage to date, it was revealed on March 13th that Facebook is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors. They will be examining its data-sharing deals with other major technology companies, according to the New York Times. Facebook has given no explanation for the outages so far, though has said it isn’t a cyber attack.

A grand jury has subpoenaed records from “at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices”, says the Times reported. The two companies are among more than 150, including Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, that have entered into partnerships with Facebook for access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of its users, according to the report.

“We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously,” a Facebook spokesman told the newspaper.

The criminal investigation adds to the investigations started since the Cambridge Analytica revelations one year ago revealed the company’s data and privacy practices. Investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, the justice department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have all been previously reported.

Facebook gave companies including Netflix, Spotify, Microsoft, Sony and Amazon the ability to access user data long after it had stopped sharing data with most third-parties, the Times claimed. At the time, the company strongly disputed that these data partnerships violated users’ privacy.

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