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Facebook's data sharing under criminal probe

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares for testimony on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018. (NBC video screenshot)

Facebook’s sharing of users’ personal data with more than 150 partners is the subject of a federal criminal investigation, according to the New York Times.

Among Facebook’s partners are tech giants Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung.

The Times said, citing two people familiar with the probe, that at least two major companies that make smartphones and other devices have been subpoenaed by a grand jury conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York.

The deals gave companies greater access to its users’ data, sometimes without permission, the Times reported.

Via Twitter late Wednesday, Facebook acknowledged it has been cooperating with “ongoing federal investigations.”

“We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged that we’ll continue to do so,” the company said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission already are investigating Facebook for its sale of the data of 87 million users to the British political research firm Cambridge Analytica.

Recently, Facebook confessed it had granted more access of user data to Netflix than it had admitted.

A Pew survey found 74 percent of U.S. adult Facebook users didn’t even know that Facebook maintained information on their advertising interests and preferences.

Billionaire Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg¬†has tried to justify his company’s collection and sale of users’ personal data by arguing he needs ads to keep his platform free of charge.

The non-profit privacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation responded:¬†“No matter how Zuckerberg slices it, Facebook’s business model revolves around monetizing your data.”