Facebook has a history with some lawsuits. In different situations, Mark Zuckerberg's company was forced to pay millionaire fines for improper use of facial recognition technology, sharing of personal data of its users, lack of collaboration in investigations on misuse of funds, among other reasons. Check, in the list below, six of the most expensive fines paid by the company.
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1. $ 550 million for using facial recognition technology
The most recent case in which Facebook had to pay a million dollar amount for justice was due to inappropriate use of the facial recognition tool. The social network was ordered, through a collective action, to pay US $ 550 million, about R $ 2 billion reais in direct conversion, after inserting facial recognition technology on its platform, without prior authorization from users. The tool identified users in the photos posted on the network, without these accounts wishing to be tagged or associated with that image, which could have been posted without their authorization.
The judicial action started in 2015, when Facebook would have started the process of collecting facial data by photos, to create a database for the tool. Such a procedure would violate the Biometric Information Privacy Act, in operation in Illinois, the US state where action was initiated in court, since 2008. To close the case, Facebook agreed to pay the fine.
Facebook has a tool for facial recognition in photos Photo: Divulgao / Facebook
2. R $ 6.6 million for data sharing in Brazil
In December 2019, the Ministry of Justice of Brazil sued Facebook for about R $ 6.6 million for improper sharing of personal data of Brazilian users. The technology company reportedly provided private user data to the Cambridge Analytica consulting firm. The sharing would be part of the leakage of information from around 87 million accounts from different countries, of which about 400 thousand would be Brazilian.
The case would have occurred after a former Cambridge Analytica partner in Brazil stated, in 2018, that the company does not have a Brazilian database, but that it wanted to set one up. The British company accused of using this data, collected through personal personality tests, to influence election results. The Brazilian Government concluded, after investigations, that there was a crime by Facebook Inc. and Facebook Servios Online do Brasil Ltda.
3. $ 40 million in settlement for inflating video audience
Advertisements made Facebook pay a fine of $ 40 million, about R $ 163 million (in direct conversion) for inflating the audience of its videos, increasing its viewing time by up to 900%. The lawsuit, led by U.S. law enforcement in October 2019, discusses a fraud in advertising metrics, leading advertisers to believe they are seeing more of their advertising than they actually were.
The fraud, which took place between 2015 and 2016, was discovered by a report in The Wall Street Journal, in which advertisers reported being dissatisfied with the results obtained on Facebook, suspecting that there were mistakes about the real metrics. To minimize the consequences of inflation in numbers, part of the $ 28 million of the fine was directed to an advertisers compensation fund.
The inflation, accused of justice, would be generated by a breach of the rule that Facebook has to not count views of up to three seconds in the overall video count. Advertisers would then have obtained results that led them to believe that users would have spent more time watching their videos than the actual volume.
Companies can perform metrics of the time users spend viewing their videos Photo: Nicolly Vimercate / TechTudo
4. $ 5 billion to end the investigation of privacy practices
The United States Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation against Facebook and identified that the company allegedly breached the privacy of some 87 million users by sharing its information with Cambridge Analytica – a public consultancy office. The leak would have occurred during the 2016 presidential election in the United States, a situation in which information would have been used as a form of political knowledge.
To put an end to investigations, in July 2019 Facebook had to pay one of the most expensive fines in history given to a technology company. The social network was fined US $ 5 billion, equivalent to approximately R $ 20 billion, at the time of listing, for violating the privacy of its users and allowing the leakage of confidential data. In addition to the fine, the social network would also start to implement a privacy commission, certifying that its users' data is safe.
5. R $ 111.7 million to Facebook for not collaborating with investigations on health budget deviations
The Federal Public Ministry of Amazonas has indicted Facebook for not collaborating with a judicial investigation at Operao Maus Caminhos. The platform would have refused to contribute to investigations into embezzlement of funds in health, after being requested by court decision, to share information contained in the profiles of those investigated on the social network and WhatsApp conversations, an application that also belongs to the company.
The case occurred from June to September 2016, when, after having requests denied by Facebook, the MPF sued the Federal Justice, which imposed a fine of R $ 111.7 million on the company. Operation Maus Caminhos investigates the diversion of more than R $ 50 million in public health resources by politicians from Amazonas.
6. 1.2 million for collecting personal information from users
The Spanish Data Protection Agency denounced Facebook for violating the data protection law by using cookies to collect, without prior authorization, personal information from users in Spain, such as sex, ideologies, personal and religious tastes, websites visited, etc. The agency further claimed that the platform would be retaining users' browsing data for longer than necessary. The social network was asked to pay a fine of 1.2 million, about R $ 5.6 million in direct conversion.
The case is similar to scandals involving the collection and sharing of data from millions of users from different parts of the world, such as in the United States and Brazil. In addition to the information obtained through the platform, Facebook was also accused of collecting data through third-party websites, maintaining user information for up to 17 months after the accounts were deactivated.