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Facebook fined $1.4 million by Spanish Data Protection Agency

Facebook was fined 1.2 million euros ($1.4 million) for allegedly collecting data from users in Spain without receiving their consent or clearly informing them how the tech firm uses the information, a Spanish data watchdog said Monday.

The social media giant, which makes most of its money through ad sales, has landed in hot water before for privacy violations in Europe.

Facebook collects data about its users’ ideology, sex, religious beliefs, personal tastes and browsing history, but doesn’t properly inform them how their information will be used, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) said.

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“Facebook’s privacy policy contains generic and unclear terms,” the agency said in a statement.

By not providing enough information to its users, Facebook collected the data without getting their consent and violated data protection regulations, the agency alleges.

The tech firm said in a statement it “respectfully disagrees” with the agency’s decision and will appeal.

“Users choose which information they want to add to their profile and share with others, such as their religion. However, we do not use this information to target adverts to people,” Facebook said in a statement.

The agency claims that Facebook — through the use of cookies — collects some of this data when someone is browsing other web pages that contain the social network’s “like” button. Cookies are small pieces of data that are downloaded to a person’s web browser.

The tech firm also stores this data for more than 17 months even after a user deletes his or her Facebook account, the agency found.

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Facebook has more than 2 billion users worldwide. In the second quarter, it raked in more than $9 billion in ad sales.

Investors didn’t seem too worried Monday about the fine.

Facebook’s stock is currently up 1.49 percent at $173.49 per share.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

 

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