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The social media giant acknowledged the report in a tweet, saying that it is already facing federal investigations.
It's already been reported that there are ongoing federal investigations, incl. by the Dept of Justice. As we’ve said, we're cooperating w/ investigators and take those probes seriously. We've provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged that we'll continue to do so https://t.co/v3QkokZq2p
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) March 14, 2019
The Times reported that a New York grand jury has subpoenaed records from at least two companies that make smartphones and other equipment. Each of these companies had struck agreements with Facebook that allowed them to access users’ personal information.
Those companies were not named in the story, but the Times noted that Facebook has data-sharing partnerships with companies including Microsoft, Apple, Sony and Amazon.
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Those partnerships have allowed private companies to see users’ contact info and their friends.
Facebook has spent the last two years eliminating those partnerships, the Times added.
The Times report emerged on the same day that Facebook saw widespread outages on its apps, including Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.
The company started facing issues starting at around noon ET, but as of 11 p.m., it hadn’t yet tweeted a message saying the issue was resolved.
We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
— Facebook (@facebook) March 13, 2019
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Facebook said the issue was not related to a distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attack, which aim to take down sites by flooding servers with traffic.
Earlier this year, reports suggested that Facebook could be hit with the biggest fine ever handed down by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had mined the information of up to 87 million users without their consent.
That penalty could beat the $22.5-million fine that Google took after the search giant had bypassed privacy measures in the Safari browser.
— With files from Kerri Breen
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