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Facebook Fined Again: Italian Watchdog Fines Facebook 7 Million Euros Over Improper Data Use


Last Updated on 17/02/2021 by Drashti

An Italian watchdog fined Facebook EUR 7 million (approximately Rs. 61 crores) for failing to comply with the regulator’s request to correct improper commercial practices in the group’s treatment of user data.

It has refused to comply with an earlier order concerning how it tells consumers of their data regarding the commercial uses it makes.

The antitrust body ruled in November 2018 that Facebook had not properly informed users about its data collection and use.

The US company was fined EUR 5 million (approximately Rs. 44 crores) and requested to publish an amended declaration on the home page of its Italian website, on the Facebook app and on the personal page of each registered Italian user.

“The current investigation has proved that …(the company has) not published the amended statement and has not stopped the established unfair practice,” the regulator said in its statement.

Given the economic value of Facebook’s data, it is said that users should be able to decide whether it should be used.

“Facebook Ireland Ltd. and Facebook Inc. have not complied with the warning to remove the incorrect practice on the use of user data and have not published the corrective declaration requested by the Authority,” the AGCM writes in a press release today.

The Authority argued that Facebook is still misleading users who register on its platform by not informing them—”immediately and adequately”—at the point of signing up to collect and monetize their personal data. Instead, it found that Facebook emphasizes the ‘gratuitousness’ of its service.

Facebook, meanwhile, has been fighting the AGCM’s (Italian Competition Authority) order via the Italian legal system — making a petition to the Council of State.

A hearing of Facebook’s appeal against the non-compliance proceedings took place in September last year and a decision is still pending.

Reached for comment on AGCM’s action, a Facebook spokesperson told us: “We note the Italian Competition Authority’s announcement today, but we await the Council of State decision on our appeal against the Authority’s initial findings.”

“Facebook takes privacy extremely seriously and we have already made changes, including to our Terms of Service, to further clarify how Facebook uses data to provide its service and to provide tailored advertising,” it added.

Well, this isn’t the first time Facebook has been in the spotlight for what it has done. 

Facebook recently faced a second London High Court action on allegations that it failed to protect the personal details of about one million people in England and Wales.

Facebook was sued by Australia’s ACCC consumer watchdog over the Onavo Protect VPN service that Facebook was forced to shut down in 2019.

Facebook was also fined 6.7 Billion Won by South Korea. The US tech giant shared personal information of at least 3.3 million users without their consent, the South Korean government said.

Drashti is a free-spirited TheDigitalHacker contributor, who loves writing stories and listening to music. She loves learning and exploring new languages and cultures, and makes sure to click a picture of the same for her Memoir.
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