Facebook’s data sharing deals are coming under hard scrutiny by American federal investigators.
Facebook had earlier this year been revealed to have data sharing partnerships with companies like Microsoft, Apple and Sony which had allowed the firm to access user’s friends and contact information. These data sharing partnerships allowed these technology companies to build features like Microsoft’s People Hub or BlackBerry’s Facebook integration as value adds for their devices.
They would, however, hoover up data of people who hadn’t signed up for this, even allowing users to view data they wouldn’t have access to when using the regular Facebook app.
To illustrate how this could have been a provlem, say Bob and Janet are Facebook friends. However, Janet has set details like her date of birth and phone number to private, i.e ‘Only Me’ on Facebook. These data sharing arrangements sometimes meant that Bob would be able to see Janet’s date of birth and phone number regardless.
The investigation is being overseen by United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, and a grand jury has been convened, The NY Times reports that the focus of the investigation remains unclear for now.
“We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously,” a Facebook spokesman told the paper. “We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so.”