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Facebook Warned Of Sanctions By EU Related To Required Changes In Its T&Cs

Facebook Warned Of Sanctions By EU Related To Required Changes In Its T&Cs
Unless Facebook changes what the European Commission has termed as “misleading” terms and conditions, the American Social media giant can face sanctions within the EU, Brussels has warned.
The firm has been holding discussions with representative of the EU for over two years now to provide the European users of Facebook more information about the manner in which the company users their data, said the EU commissioner in charge of consumer protection, Věra Jourová, and added that the Commission was frustrated because no outcome had come out of those discussions.
“I will not hide the fact that I am becoming rather impatient because we have been in dialogue with Facebook almost two years,” Jourová told reporters. “Progress is not enough for me, I want to see results.”
Facebook now has till the end of the current year to bring in the demanded changes in its terms of service. “Facebook will face sanctions from national authorities,” she said. “They will look into sanctions after the new year in case they do not see sufficient progress.”
Because there is wide ranging differences in penalties that are given in cases related to breach of consumer law among the 28 member states of the EU, therefore no specific financial penalty amount was provided by the commissioner.
There are number of issues about the social media platform that the EU is peeved about. It includes issues related to the relation it had whit the case of data breach by the Cambridge Analytica and hate speech on the platform. The latest tussle between the two parties is related to the manner in which it uses user data and the policy that it implements to remove posts and pictures form the platform.
A spate of fraud cases made the French authorities to file complaint with the Commission which prompted the European body to initiate an investigation into whether Facebook was complying to the consumers regulations of EU.
Changes in the user terms and conditions were asked to be made according to the EU consumer standards to Google, Facebook, Airbnb and Twitter. This would allow EU users of the platforms to file cases against the companies in European courts instead of court in the  US in case there is any instance of fraud with the users or if on allegations of companies not conforming to their consumer rights.
The firms were also directed to clearly identify and mentioned sponsored content and give their users clear information about how they were using users’ data. Most of the companies have made the changes even though some changes are still pending for Twitter.
While admitting that some changes had been made by Facebook according to the directions, the commission said that there were still issues with its terms and conditions because Facebook “tells consumers that their data and content is used only to improve their overall ‘experience’ and does not mention that the company uses these data for commercial purposes”.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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