The US media disclosed that the Eastern District Public Prosecutor’s Office in New York has launched a criminal investigation into Facebook, and whether the “user data sharing” agreement reached by the social media company and other technology companies violates the user’s right to know.
The New York Times reported on the 13th as a source of information, a grand jury issued a subpoena requesting at least two manufacturers of electronic products such as well-known smart phones to hand over agreements with Facebook. Under the US judicial system, the grand jury reviewed the allegations made by the prosecutor and the evidence submitted, and decided whether to prosecute.
The report did not mention which two companies were involved. Including technology giants such as Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, more than 150 companies have signed cooperation agreements with Facebook, and have access to hundreds of millions of users’ private data.
The US media last year exposed the British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytics to use the cooperation agreement with Facebook to obtain the personal data of up to 87 million Facebook users, to analyze voters’ tendency and “target” advertising, trying to influence the 2016 US president Political events such as elections and the British departure from the European Union referendum. Facebook argued that the data was “stealing” by Cambridge Analytical, but admitted that it did not notify the user in time after the problem was discovered.
The “stealing” incident has made Facebook’s user privacy protection policy once again the focus of multiple reviews. The company faces a series of civil suits and is under investigation by regulatory agencies such as the US Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and two New York State government agencies. The US Congress and House of Representatives organized a hearing to question Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook.
In response to the New York Times report, Facebook published a statement on the 13th, saying that the company has always seriously cooperated with the investigation of federal government agencies such as the Ministry of Justice.
Facebook defends the “data sharing” agreement with other technology companies, saying that no agreement allows partners to obtain user information without the user’s consent.