Briefing

Facebook to pay $9-million fine over Competition Bureau misleading privacy claims investigation

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The antitrust watchdog determined that between August 2012 and June 2018, the social media giant gave users the impression that they could control the visibility of their personal information, but did not sufficiently limit third-party developers’ access. Facebook will also pay $500,000 in costs. “Although we do not agree with the Commissioner’s conclusions, we are resolving this matter by entering into a consent agreement and not contesting the conclusions for the purposes of this agreement,” said Facebook spokesperson Erin Taylor.  (The Logic)

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Talking point: The settlement resolves one of the multiple investigations and studies of third-party developers’ access to Facebook data that regulators and policymakers in Ottawa launched following the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal. In July 2019, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission imposed a significantly larger penalty of US$5 billion over privacy issues including this one. Facebook is still battling Canada’s privacy commissioner in court, after the watchdog said the firm had not accepted the findings of its inquiry or agreed to implement its recommendations. Meanwhile, the company has added Rachel Curran, a former policy director to Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to its Canadian public policy team. Kevin Chan, previously an adviser to ex-Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, leads the group.