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Canada: Facebook to pay $9 million penalty over misleading privacy claims

Christian Fernsby ▼ | May 24, 2020
Facebook Inc. will pay a $9 million penalty after the Competition Bureau concluded that the company made false or misleading claims about the privacy of Canadians’ personal information on Facebook and Messenger.
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Facebook will also pay an additional $500,000 for the costs of the Bureau’s investigation.

Topics: Facebook

The payments are part of a settlement registered with the Competition Tribunal in which Facebook has agreed not to make false or misleading representations about the disclosure of personal information. This includes representations about the extent to which users can control access to their personal information on Facebook and Messenger.

Following an investigation that took into account Facebook’s practices between August 2012 and June 2018, the Bureau concluded that:

Facebook gave the impression that users could control who could see and access their personal information on the Facebook platform when using privacy features, such as the general “Privacy Settings” page, the “About” page and the audience selector menu on posts, among others.

However, Facebook did not limit the sharing of users’ personal information with some third-party developers in a way that was consistent with the company’s privacy claims. This personal information included content users posted on Facebook, messages users exchanged on Messenger, and other information about identifiable users.

Facebook also allowed certain third-party developers to access the personal information of users’ friends after users installed certain third-party applications. While Facebook made claims that it would no longer allow such access to the personal information of users’ friends after April 30, 2015, the practice continued until 2018 with some third-party developers.


 

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