Facebook to pay $9 million penalty to Competition Bureau

Social media giant will also pay cost of investigation

Facebook to pay $9 million penalty to Competition Bureau

Facebook will pay a $9 million penalty to the Competition Bureau, plus $500,000 to cover the cost of the investigation, the Bureau announced Tuesday.

The Competition watchdog concluded the social media giant made “false or misleading claims about the privacy of Canadians’ personal information on Facebook and Messenger,” said the announcement. As part of the settlement, Facebook agreed not to make false or misleading statements to its users about the disclosure of their personal information.

The Bureau’s investigation looked at Facebook’s conduct between Aug. 2012 and June 2018. The investigation found users were led to believe they could control who had access to their personal information by adjusting their account settings and through adjusting the settings on posts. But “some third-party developers” were able to access users’ personal information, in a way inconsistent with Facebook’s privacy claims, said the announcement. Those “third-party developers” were also able to access the personal information of users’ friends.

The Bureau’s announcement noted that it is against the Competition Act to make “false or misleading claims about a product or service to promote their business interests” and this applies to free digital products — such as social media platforms — as well as products and services purchased by consumers. The Bureau acknowledged Facebook’s voluntary cooperation in the resolving the issue.

“Canadians expect and deserve truth from businesses in the digital economy, and claims about privacy are no exception,” said Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell. “The Competition Bureau will not hesitate to crack down on any business that makes false or misleading claims to Canadians about how they use personal data, whether they are multinational corporations like Facebook or smaller companies.”

Recent articles & video

SCC finds company committed abusive tax avoidance in case dealing with general anti-avoidance rule

Medical reporting organisations are not medical experts, court rules

Roundup of law firm hires, promotions, departures: May 29, 2023 update

Critics decry ‘disjointed’ diversity disclosure options from securities administrators

For AI, intellectual property must now reward and incentivize creativity and inventiveness: lawyer

NS Supreme Court rejects unjust enrichment claim over in-law suite renovations

Most Read Articles

SCC notes importance of defending marginalized groups with ‘counter-speech’ in anti-SLAPP ruling

Massive interest in AI comes with significant responsibilities: McCarthy Tétrault’s Charles Morgan

Thomson Reuters upends legal drafting with Microsoft Word AI integration

For AI, intellectual property must now reward and incentivize creativity and inventiveness: lawyer