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.