Facebook under criminal investigation and a $6.1 million fine in South Korea for sharing users’ personal information without consent
In 2019, Facebook was under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors for data-sharing deals with other major technology companies, according to the New York Times. The investigation added to the laundry list of inquiries since the Cambridge Analytica revelations in 2018.
Now, Facebook is under criminal investigation again. But this time, it is with a South Korean agency responsible for protecting personal information. According to a report from Reuters, a South Korean watchdog has fined Facebook Inc 6.7 billion won ($6.06 million) and sought a criminal investigation for providing users’ personal information to other operators without consent.
The country’s Personal Information Protection Commission, launched in August this year, said in a statement it fined Facebook after a probe found that the personal information of least 3.3 million of the 18 million Facebook users in Korea was provided to operators other than Facebook without their knowledge, from May 2012 to June 2018.
In response, a Seoul-based Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement:
“We have cooperating as much as possible throughout the investigation process, we regret that the Personal Information Protection Commission has sought a criminal investigation.”
The spokeswoman declined further comment as Facebook hasn’t yet fully reviewed the details of the decision.
The commission said that when someone uses another operator’s service through Facebook’s log-in, the personal information of the user’s Facebook friends was provided to other operators without their consent.
The commission said it will refer Facebook Ireland Ltd, the recipient of the fine, to the country’s prosecution for a criminal investigation.