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Facebook fined $8.45 mn in Italy over improper use of subscribers' data

In November 2018, after a nine-month investigation, the AGCM concluded that Facebook used subscribers' data in a way that breached Italy's Consumer Code

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Facebook | Mark Zuckerberg | Italy

IANS  |  Rome 

The complaint reflects the pressure President Donald Trump is keeping on social media giants even in the waning days of his administration.
Italy handed Facebook two fines totalling 10 million euros ($12 million).

Italy's competition watchdog has fined social networking giant seven million euros ($8.45 million) for failing to comply with a previous order related to improper use of its subscribers' data.

After an investigation, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) said on Wednesday that it had found that Inc. and its subsidiary Ireland Ltd. did not implement a 2018 order requiring them to dismiss an incorrect practice in the use of users' data, nor did they publish a corrective declaration requested by the watchdog, Xinhua news agency reported.

In November 2018, after a nine-month investigation, the AGCM concluded that Facebook used subscribers' data in a way that breached Italy's Consumer Code. Therefore, it handed Facebook two fines totalling 10 million euros ($12 million).

The first fine was imposed because Facebook "deceptively persuades users to register on the platform" without informing them properly and immediately in the signup phase that their data would be collected for commercial purposes, the watchdog explained.

The second fine in 2018 related to passing user data onto to third parties.

On Friday, the Italian competition watchdog explained in a statement that the new seven-million-euro fine was decided because "the two have not published the corrective statement and have not ceased the established unfair practice."

Although the "claim of gratuity" at the point of registering has been eliminated, "immediate and clear information is not yet provided on the collection and use of the users' data for commercial purposes," the AGCM said on Wednesday.

According to the AGCM, such information is necessary to enable consumers to decide whether to subscribe to the service, "in the light of the economic value the users' transferred data have for Facebook, which represents the payment for using the service."

The most recent proceeding against Facebook was launched in January 2020, and the fine was decided in a meeting on February 9, according to the Italian watchdog.

The original investigation leading to the two previous financial penalties in 2018 was opened after three Italian advocacy groups filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook for alleged improper use of personal data filed.

--IANS

int/

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, February 18 2021. 07:06 IST
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