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Italian watchdog fines Facebook 7 million euros over improper data use

FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Italy's competition watchdog has fined Facebook 7 million euros ($8.5 million) for not complying with a request to correct improper commercial practices in its treatment of user data, the regulator said on Wednesday.

In November 2018, the antitrust body ruled that Facebook had not informed users properly about its collection and use of data.

It fined the U.S. company 5 million euros ($5.5 million) and asked it to publish an amended statement on the homepage of its website for Italy, on the Facebook app, and on the personal page of each registered Italian user.

"The current investigation has proved that ...(the company has) not published the amended statement and has not stopped the established unfair practice," the regulator said in its statement.

Given the economic value of the data for Facebook, it said users should be put in a position to decide whether it should be used.

A Facebook spokesman said the company had taken notice of the regulator's announcement but would "await the Council of State decision on our appeal against the Authority’s initial findings".

The spokesman added that Facebook had already made changes, including to its term of service to clarify how data to provide its services and tailored advertising are used.

($1 = 0.83 euros)

(Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri and Elvira Pollina; editing by Barbara Lewis and Angus MacSwan)

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Dive Deeper:
#DeleteFacebook: Why people are saying they’re leaving the site – and how to do it
The movement comes as Facebook bans all news in Australia on its platform
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Facebook faced backlash from publishers and politicians on Thursday after blocking news feeds in Australia in a surprise escalation of…
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France fines Google 1.1 million euros over hotel rankings practices
Google Ireland and Google France have agreed to pay a 1.1 million euros ($1.34 million) fine after a probe found…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Tracking pixels: Concerns raised over ‘grotesque invasion of privacy’ - and how to know if you’re being watched when you open emails
Companies can track when an email was opened, where it was opened from, and what device was used
Anger mounts as Facebook's Australia news ban sweeps up charities, government pages
Dozens of Australian companies, charities and information providers reacted with anger on Thursday after being shut down by Facebook, imploring…
Get all your news in one place