Facebook Canada Faces C$9 Million Fine Over ‘False’ Privacy Claims


Facebook Inc. (FB) will have to pay a C$9 million ($6.5 million) fine in a settlement agreement with Canada’s Competition Bureau over “false” privacy claims.

The findings of the probe by Canada’s competition watchdog allege that Facebook “made false or misleading claims about the privacy of Canadians’ personal information on Facebook and Messenger”, according to the settlement agreement.

Facebook “did not limit its sharing of Personal Information with Third Party Developers in a manner consistent with Facebook’s privacy representations”, the competition watchdog’s Commissioner wrote in the settlement agreement.

Furthermore, the Commissioner stipulated that the social media giant “made privacy representations to the public for the purpose of directly or indirectly promoting its business interests.”

The agreement disclosed that although Facebook did not agree with the Commissioner’s conclusions, it consented to the settlement. In addition, Facebook will also need to pay C$500,000 in costs incurred during the watchdog’s investigation which started in 2018.

Facebook has about 24 million monthly active users in Canada, according to data presented in the settlement filing.

This is not the first time the social media network has been under the radar over its privacy practices. Last year, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook with a $5 billion penalty, the largest-ever imposed fine on any company for violating consumers’ privacy.

Shares in Facebook were up 3.1% at $223.58 in pre-market trading after jumping 49% over the past two months.

Overall, Wall Street analysts have a bullish call on Facebook shares. A stellar 32 out of 35 analysts have a Buy rating on the stock with the rest on the sidelines.

In light of the recent rally, the $239.27 average price target by analysts implies a potential gain of some 10% in the coming 12 months. (See Facebook stock analysis on TipRanks).

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