Facebook said in a statement to the New York Times that it is cooperating with investigators.
The probe constitutes a sharp escalation of Facebook's legal problems in the U.S., where it is under scrutiny from four separate government agencies, including the United States justice department, as well as from legislators.
Those companies were among 150 with sharing deals that allowed them to see user contact information and other data.
News of the criminal investigation is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the two billion-member social networking giant.
Last July, Facebook began facing a widening inquiry from the federal government, with three federal agencies and the Department of Justice looking into how the political-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica obtained the personal data of up to 87 million Americans.
British Parliament votes against May's Brexit plan
However-and this is a very big "however"-a rejection of the concept does not mean a no-deal Brexit is off the table". Reporter Steve Cannane is a former ABC correspondent in Europe, he's here now though in the studio with us.
The Times' report was released on Wednesday evening, while Facebook was dealing with a major outage.
Facebook's data sharing deals are coming under hard scrutiny by American federal investigators.
Facebook has defended the deals.
In December, following the Times report, Facebook said in a blog entry that these partnerships were necessary to enable certain social features in outside apps, like logging into a Facebook account from a Windows phone, or sharing what Spotify song you were listening to via Facebook Messenger.
"This episode has clearly hurt us", Facebook CEO Zuckerberg told Congress a year ago while speaking about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
But these partnerships also allowed third-party companies to get much deeper access to user data than it had previously made clear.