Facebook has been fined €7 million (U.S. $8.4 million) by Italy’s antitrust regulator for failing to address issues related to its personal data collection practices.
The regulator, the Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, or AGCM, announced the fine Wednesday, saying despite a previous order, Facebook has continued collecting its Italian users’ personal data without properly informing them about how Facebook will use their data.
In 2018, the AGCM ordered Facebook to cease its improper personal data collection practices and to publish a “corrective declaration” on the Italian Facebook Webpage. At the time, the AGCM fined Facebook €5 million (U.S. $6.9 million).
The regulator said Facebook’s response to the 2018 order was “generic and incomplete.” In its service agreement for new users, Facebook failed to properly distinguish between personal data collected to facilitate connections with other Facebook users and personal data used to deliver targeted advertising, the AGCM said. Given the personal data Facebook collected has value to the company, the AGCM said users had a right to know how it is being used.
“The Authority had ascertained that Facebook was misleading users to register on its platform by not informing them immediately and adequately—during the activation of the account—of the collection activity, with commercial intent, of data provided by them and, more generally, of the remunerative purposes underlying the service, emphasizing vice versa that it is free,” said the AGCM press release, translated from Italian.
In its order (in Italian), the AGCM “prohibited the further dissemination of the misleading practice and ordered the publication of an amendment statement on the homepage of the company Website for Italy, on the Facebook app and on the personal page of each registered Italian user.”
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.