(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Facebook hit with $9M penalty for making ‘false, misleading’ privacy claims: watchdog

Investigation focused on Facebook and its Messenger program

Facebook has been ordered to pay a $9 million penalty after the Competition Bureau found the company made false or misleading claims about the privacy of Canadians’ personal information.

The penalty is part of a settlement released Tuesday (May 19) where Facebook agreed to not make false or misleading representations about how users’ personal information posted on Facebook and Messenger is used. The agreement comes after the probe, which looked at Facebook’s practices between August 2012 and June 2018.

The investigation found that Facebook gave the impression that users could control who could see their personal information by changing their account’s privacy settings, even though this did not fully ensure privacy.

“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,” the Competition Bureau statement said. “This personal information included content users posted on Facebook, messages users exchanged on Messenger, and other information about identifiable users.”

The bureau found that Facebook allowed third-party developers to gain information on the friends of users who installed certain applications, even years after the company said it would stop the practice. According to the bureau, Facebook claimed it would stop after April 30, 2015, but the practice continued until 2018.

In a statement, a Facebook company spokesperson said the social media site did not agree with the result of the probe. However, the company said it would not contest the conclusions.

“We will build on the improvements we’ve made in protecting people’s information and how we communicate about the privacy controls Canadians can use,” the spokesperson said.

The social media company will also have to pay $500,000 to cover the costs of the investigation.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

facebook

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC SPCA team helps discover new feline virus after outbreak at Quesnel shelter

Fechavirus is a kind of parvovirus, which makes cats and kittens very sick

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Commercial salmon fisheries delayed for Bella Coola area

DFO notice says Area C gill net fisheries in Area 8 have been delayed until June 15

Pacific Coastal won’t open until community is ready

The company has suspended operations until further notice

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Most Read