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Facebook fined €1.2 million for breaking privacy laws in Spain

Facebook fined 1.2 million euros by Spanish regulators for it’s data-harvesting activities that involved a series of privacy violations. The social media giant has been imposed with this hefty fine after it was reported to have violated the privacy laws, by the country’s data watchdog.  According to Spanish authorities, the social network has breached laws which were designed to protect the information and privacy of the citizens in three different instances. 


Spain’s AEPD (Agencia Española de Protección de Datos), the government agency for consumer data protection reported after it’s investigation that Facebook was collecting, storing and using the personal data of it’s users for advertising purposes without getting proper consent from the users. The regulator found based on their investigation that Facebook failed to inform it’s users about the usage of their personal data.  The social media giant also infringed the privacy rights of Citizens in Spain since it stored the personal details of the users for more than 17 months even though they had deleted their Facebook accounts.

AEPD has found out based on their investigation that Facebook has made two different breaches of the data protection law in Spain. – The total fine imposed was broken down to  €300,000 for each of the first breaches while €600,000 was imposed for the second breach. AEPD accused Facebook for failing to educate it’s users regarding on how their personal information including religious beliefs, browsing habits, personal interests, sex and ideology would be used by the social media giant for their advertising purposes. They also pointed that the social media behemoth used browser cookies to illegally track visitors to it’s pages, even though they have not signed up with Facebook.

The use of browsing cookies is also a violation of Spain’s privacy laws since the users are not informed about how their information will be processed using cookies while they browse non-Facebook pages  in other websites which contain the ‘Like’ button social media plugin. Facebook was using the information gathered through cookies for advertising and other confidential purposes which are not notified to the users.  The data watchdogs are investing the social media giant across Europe and it has already faced challenges in Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France. Facebook fined €150,000 by France earlier this year for unfair tracking of it’s citizens.  The regulators are concerned that Facebook does not inform it’s average users about how they collect, store and use the personal data of it’s users.

Data watchdogs across Europe are investigating Facebook, which has faced challenges in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and France, which fined the firm €150,000 earlier this year. It should be noted that Facebook is the largest social media network with more than 2 million Active monthly users.

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