(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

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Water recovery team stands down search for missing man in Stellako River

Jason Bouchard was in a boat with a friend that overturned in the river May 16

COVID-19: Increased federal funding for off-reserve Indigenous services welcomed news in north

Funding to benefit organizations such as friendship centres during pandemic

COVID-19: PG Community Foundation to disperse community support funds

$197,630 in funding announced by the Prince George Community Foundation

CGL workforce will gradually increase to 650 workers by end of May

The pipeline company provided a project update on May 21.

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read