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Italy Fines Facebook EUR 10 Mln For Consumer Rights Breaches

Italian antitrust watchdog AGCM has fined Facebook a total of EUR 10 million for alleged breaches of the country’s consumer code following a 6-month investigation into the social networking giant’s methods of collecting and using personal data. In a statement, the regulator said the company had breached articles 21 and 22 of the Italian Consumer Code after misleading users into registering on the platform, while failing to “adequately and immediately” inform them when setting up of the account that the data they provide will be used for commercial purposes. “Facebook emphasises the free nature of the service but not the commercial objectives that underlie the provision of the social network service, thus inducing users into making a transactional decision that they would not have taken otherwise,” said the watchdog.

Facebook was also found to be in breach of articles 24 and 25 of the Consumer Code on the grounds that it uses unfair practices to transmit users’ data to third-party apps and sites for commercial purposes, and vice versa. “The undue influence is caused by Facebook’s pre-selection of the broadest consent to data sharing,” said the regulator, adding that when users decide to limit their consent, they are faced with significant restrictions on the use of the social network and third-party apps and sites, thereby inducing users to maintain the pre-selected choice.

The fine comes after Facebook last month paid over EUR 100 million to settle outstanding tax claims dating from 2010 to 2015, according to the country’s tax authority.  – Telecom Paper

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