Italy fines Facebook €10 million for misleading users over data practices
09 December 2018, 00:41
Italy’s competition watchdog has fined Facebook €10 million for selling users’ information without properly informing them of its data practices, Euronews reports.
The fine is one of the largest amounts demanded from the social media giant for data misuse.
Italy’s AGCM consumer authority found the company to be in violation of four of Italy’s consumer codes – articles 21, 22, 24 and 25.
It said Facebook failed to clearly tell users in the signing up process about how their data is used for “commercial purposes.”
“Facebook emphasizes the free nature of the service but not the commercial objectives that underlie the provision of the social network service,” a statement from AGCM said.
It added the company advertises the free nature of the platform without telling users of the “profitable ends that underlie the provision of the social network.”
In an investigation, the watchdog also found that Facebook forces an “aggressive practice” on users by sharing their data with third parties for commercial purposes.
It said users who decide to limit their data sharing are penalised by Facebook with restrictions on the use of the platform and third-party applications. This encourages users to keep the preset data settings, the AGCM found.
The watchdog demanded Facebook publish a declaration on the above on its website and mobile app.
Facebook has repeatedly said it does not sell users’ data.
A Facebook spokesperson said: “We are reviewing the Authority’s decision and hope to work with them to resolve their concerns. This year we made our terms and policies clearer to help people understand how we use data and how our business works. We also made our privacy settings easier to find and use, and we’re continuing to improve them. You own and control your personal information on Facebook.”