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US Probing Facebook Data Deals With Tech Firms: Report

Facebook has phased out most of the partnerships over the past two years, The New York Times report said

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Facebook, data, vietnam
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

Facebook is facing criminal investigation in the US for the data deals it had entered into with smartphone makers and other technology giants, The New York Times reported.

A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed records from at least two smartphone makers that had entered into partnerships with the social media giant, said the report on Wednesday citing unnamed sources.

These two companies were among more than 150, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, that had cut sharing deals with Facebook, gaining broad access to the personal information of millions of its users.

Facebook earlier reportedly admitted that it had shared users’ data with embattled Chinese company Huawei along with three other China-based smartphone makers Lenovo, OPPO and TCL.

Facebook
Facebook, social media. Pixabay

These agreements allowed the companies to see users’ friends, contact information and other data, sometimes without consent.

Facebook has phased out most of the partnerships over the past two years, The New York Times report said.

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“We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously,” a Facebook spokesman was quoted as saying in a statement.

“We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so.” (IANS)

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Local News Dry up for Facebook Media Project in US

In January this year, the Facebook Journalism Project announced to invest $300 million in local newsrooms

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Facebook, Data
A photo shows the Facebook app icon on an iPhone in New York, Feb. 19, 2014. VOA

Facebook is having trouble finding enough local news to feed its new journalism initiative, because hundreds of newspapers have shut down in the US.

“About one in three users in the US live in places where we cannot find enough local news on Facebook to launch ‘Today In’,” Facebook wrote in a blog post on Monday.

In those “news deserts” – communities with little or no local reporting – Facebook hasn’t been able to find “five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns” for its news feature “Today In” that was launched in November last year.

“In the last 28 days, there has not been a single day where we’ve been able to find five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns.

“This does not vary much by region: 35 per cent of users in the Midwest, Northeast, and South — and 26 per cent in the West a” live in places where we can’t find much local newson Facebook,” said the social networking company.

Facebook, data, vietnam
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“Today In” has been rolled out to over 400 cities in the US.

“We’re also announcing a new pilot programme, the Facebook Journalism Project Community Network, to support projects aimed at building community through local news,” said Facebook.

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According to Engadget, nearly 1,800 papers have shut down in the US since around the time Facebook came online 15 years ago.

In January this year, the Facebook Journalism Project announced to invest $300 million in local newsrooms. (IANS)