Facebook fined 7 million euros for misuse of user data in Italy

Facebook fined 7 million euros for misuse of user data in Italy

Italy’s competition watchdog fined social media giant Facebook 7 million euros for failing to comply with an earlier order on misuse of customer data.

After conducting an investigation, the Italian Business Competition Authority (AGCM) said on Wednesday (2/17) that it had discovered that Facebook Inc. and its subsidiary, Facebook Ireland Ltd., did not carry out an order in 2018 requiring them stop misuse of customer data and did not issue corrective statements at the request of the regulatory body.

In November 2018, after a nine-month investigation, AGCM concluded that Facebook was using customer data in a way that violates the Italian Consumer Code of Conduct. Therefore, AGCM imposed two fines on them for a total of 10 million euros.

The first fine was imposed because Facebook “persuaded users to register on the platform” without providing enough information and immediately at the registration stage that user data would be collected for commercial purposes, AGCM said.

Although the “gratification claims” at the time of registration have been deleted, “direct and clear information about the collection and use of user data for commercial purposes has not been provided,” AGCM said on Wednesday.

According to AGCM, the information is necessary so that consumers can decide whether to become a customer of the service or not, “given the economic value of the data users transfer to Facebook, which represents payment for using the service.”

The latest investigation process for Facebook began in January 2020, and the fines were decided in a meeting on February 9, according to Italy’s watchdog.

The initial investigation that led to two previous financial sanctions in 2018 opened after three Italian advocacy groups filed class action lawsuit against Facebook for alleged improper use of personal data.

Hope Italy can find the way out of this cases.

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