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Italy Fines Facebook $8.42 Million for Misusing Personal Data

Facebook - El American

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Italy’s Competition and Market Guarantor Authority reported today that it has fined social network Facebook €7 million (about $8.42 million at the current exchange rate) for misuse of its users’ data.

The move speficially penalizes Facebook Ireland Ltd. and Facebook INC for not having complied with a resolution that the U.S. group has appealed.

The Italian authority issued in November 2018 a ruling in which it considered that Facebook misled users into registering on its platform and did not immediately and adequately inform them, during account activation, that the data collected would be for commercial purposes, nor were they informed of the underlying remunerative purposes of the service.

In the opinion of this Italian entity, the information provided by Facebook “was generic and incomplete and did not provide an adequate distinction between the use of data necessary for the personalization of the service” and those required for “specific advertising campaigns.”

In addition to sanctioning Facebook with a fine of five million euros, the authority “prohibited the dissemination of the misleading practice and ordered the publication of a rectification on the company’s website in Italy, as well as on the profiles of each registered Italian user,” the statement reads.

The two companies have not published the rectification and neither do they provide information to users about the collection of their data, essential for the customer to decide whether to activate the service or not, the aforementioned body points out.

A Facebook spokesman said that the group takes note of the decision, but awaits “the ruling of the Council of State on the appeal against the initial conclusions” of the Italian body.

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