The United States conducts criminal investigation on Facebook's data trades

Facebook acknowledged the survey to Times and said it was "cooperating with investigators" and taking probes "seriously."

The deals were typically about making it easier to fill out contacts, share content and otherwise integrate Facebook with devices and websites. It is a concern that these agreements were not always transparent to everyday users. Microsoft's Bing deal charted the friends of Facebook users without explicit permission, for example. The FTC is expected to negotiate fines with Facebook for alleged breaches of a privacy agreement for 201[ads1]1, but not necessarily over those agreements. Investigators can use criminal cases to take into account concerns that other bodies have not already covered.

Whatever the details, the investigation does not explore well. Most of these deals have long since ended, and Mark Zuckerberg recently promised to create a "privacy-focused" social network, but officials are not likely to care about. As with Cambridge Analytica and other scandals, Facebook's past comes back to haunt it in ways that can have serious consequences.

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