Facebook fined €1.2m for privacy violations in Spain

FACEBOOK faces fines of €1.2 million after breaking Spanish law.

The Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) claimed in a report that the social media site had violated their users’ privacy on multiple accounts by exploiting their personal data for advertising purposes.

The AEPD focussed on how Facebook harvests information on people’s sexuality, religious beliefs and ideologies without informing them how it plans to use this information. The agency said that users did not give the social network consent to manipulate their information for these purposes and revealed that the company broke more laws by not deleting the data once it was no longer useful.

In a statement, Facebook rejected the accusations and claimed that the AEPD was wrong to accuse the company of showing advertising based on sensitive personal information. They assert that their ad-targeting was solely based on content people “liked” on the site.

However, under EU law, “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person” qualifies as personal data, which includes the content people “like”.

Spain has followed the example of France, Belgium and Germany who have also taken action against the company in recent months. Agencies in these countries have taken to coordinating with one another as it enables them to demand more serious fines from internet giants including Facebook and Google.

With over 2 billion active users a month, the €1.2 million fine is unlikely to make much of a dent given that Facebook earned over €9 billion in advertising revenues in the second quarter of this year alone. 

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