(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

No charges to be laid against 22 pipeline protesters arrested on Wet’suwet’en territory

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Houston mill to re-open June 8

Ends lengthy shutdown which began in March

Major paving projects announced

Extends west of Smithers to east of Houston

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Annual bird count thrills organizer in Houston

Count took place over 48 hours

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

“The Great Regional Air Hug” being organized by the Vanderhoof International Airshow Society

A multi-aircraft flyover over the region is being planned for August 15.

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Larva of voracious green crab discovered on North Coast

Public asked to retain the carcasses of these invasive species for DNA testing

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

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

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Williams Lake RCMP capture fugitive walking along Highway 97 in city limits

Witness said they could hear police yelling for suspect to ‘get down’

Most Read