Italy’s antitrust authority announced Friday, December 7, that it had handed Facebook two fines adding up to €10 million (US$11.4 million) for alleged breaches of the consumer code. The regulator claims that the company’s default setting of Facebook services “prepares the transmission of user data to individual websites/apps without express consent” from users.
The two fines issued by Italy’s competition watchdog are some of the largest levied against the social media company for data misuse, dwarfing the £500,000 (US$660,000) fine levied by the British Information Commissioner’s Office in September—the maximum that body was able to issue.
The Italian regulator found that Facebook had breached articles 21, 22, 24, and 25 of the country’s consumer code by:
- Misleading users in the sign-up process about the extent to which the data they provide would be used for commercial purposes.
- Emphasizing only the free nature of the service, without informing users of the “profitable ends that underlie the provision of the social network,” and so encouraging them to make a decision of a commercial nature that they would not have taken if they were in full possession of the facts.
- Forcing an “aggressive practice” on registered users by transmitting their data from Facebook to third parties, and vice versa, for commercial purposes.