Criminal investigation into Facebook deals with Apple, Amazon, Microsoft

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As if today couldn't get any worse for Facebook, the company is now facing a criminal investigation as the result of its controversial data sharing practices.

Facebook Inc is under criminal investigation by U.S. federal prosecutors over data deals it struck with some of the world's largest technology companies, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg created the partnerships to stave off obsolescence and insulate the massive company from competition. For example, Yahoo's email service could access your friend list to help you find people you know.

The social network has been under scrutiny since the revelation in March that consultancy Cambridge Analytica had misused Facebook user data in the run-up to the 2016 United States presidential election.

According to the Times, Facebook's deals with more than 150 different companies let them "see users' friends, contact information and other data, sometimes without consent".

Facebook has defended the deals.

As part of the investigation, a NY grand jury has subpoenaed two well-known smartphone makers for records related to the investigation, according to the report.

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Despite these assurances, the partnerships are now the subject of a federal investigation.

The focus of the grand jury probe was not clear, nor was when it started, according to the Times, which cited unnamed sources.

Federal prosecutors are investigating data-sharing deals struck between Facebook and makers of mobile computing devices. Facebook is also facing a record-setting multibillion-dollar fine from the FTC for privacy violations, according to The Washington Post.

Facebook is facing a slew of lawsuits and regulatory inquiries over its privacy practices, including ongoing investigations by the US Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and 2 state agencies in NY.

"We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously", a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

The report comes as the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission continue scrutinizing Facebook's business model.