Facebook data deals under criminal investigation, report says

SAN FRANCISCO -- The New York Times reports that federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into Facebook's data deals with major electronics manufacturers.

The newspaper says a grand jury in New York has subpoenaed information from at least two companies known for making smartphones and other devices, citing two unnamed people familiar with the request. It reports that both companies had data partnerships with Facebook that gave them access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of users.

Facebook describes those data deals as innocuous efforts to help smartphone makers provide Facebook features to users before the social network had its own app.

The Times reports that it is not clear when the inquiry began or exactly what it is focusing on. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

Outage Issues

This news comes amid outage issues for Facebook and its platforms.

According to Facebook's status page, the outages started around 11 a.m. Wednesday.

That page, which called the problem a "partial outage," states that Facebook has experienced "increased error rates" since that time.

Downdetector.com, a site that monitors site outages, said the Facebook problem affected parts of the U.S., including the East and West Coast; parts of Europe and elsewhere. Both Facebook's desktop site and app appeared to be affected. Some users saw a message that said Facebook was down for "required maintenance."

Facebook did not say what was causing the outages.

Via its Twitter account, Facebook said the outage was not due to a "distributed denial of service" or DDoS attack, a type of attack that hackers use to interrupt service to a site.
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