(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

Resorts in Tofino and Ucluelet prepare to reopen in June

“We need to get the tourist economy in our communities back up and running.”

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve plans limited reopening on June 4

The Park Reserve shut down on March 18 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Pacific Rim Hospice Society gifting free wellness “check-ins” to all West Coast residents

“This pandemic has led to a lot of isolation and it’s helpful for anybody just to have a soundboard.”

Accident, downed power lines closes Highway 4 west of Port Alberni

Detour is available near Hector Road as BC Hydro crews work to restore power

Chris Lowther becomes Tofino’s second Poet Laureate

“It’s very encouraging and it’s motivating and that’s the greatest gift any writer can receive.”

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Most Read