France: Facebook fined by watchdog

France’s privacy watchdog on Tuesday slapped Facebook with a $165,616 ($184.742 USD) fine on allegations the social media giant’s privacy policy breaches French law, the latest setback for the company in Europe where it is hounded by multiple legal and regulatory battles.

The size of the fine is comparatively small for Facebook, which brought in $27.6 billion ($30.7Bn USD) in revenue last year — almost all of which came from advertising. More important, however, the watchdog’s decision could force changes to the way the company operates.

France’s Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés, or CNIL, accused Facebook of compiling massive amounts of personal data for targeted advertising without granting users the option of objecting, the watchdog said. The regulator also accused Facebook of collecting data on users’ browsing activity on third-party websites without their knowledge.

“We are disappointed with today’s news and respectfully disagree with the CNIL’s findings,” said a Facebook spokesman, adding they were pleased, however, that the watchdog had taken into consideration information provided by the company during the investigation.

France first sent Facebook a formal notice about its concerns in January 2016 and held a hearing about the issue in March 2017, before deciding to impose the fine.

Full Content: Irish Times

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