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Facebook Sued By Australia Over Collecting User Data Without Consent

Facebook Sued By Australia Over Collecting User Data Without Consent

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) has been sued by an Australian consumer watchdog over collecting user data without permission, Reuters reported Tuesday.

What Happened: Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) wants Facebook to pay an unspecified penalty for promoting a virtual private network (VPN) to users as a means to protect data, while it used the information to select targets for commercial acquisitions, according to Reuters.

The lawsuit comes after the United States Federal Trade Commission accused the Mark Zuckerberg-led company of using consumer data — including from its WhatsApp and Instagram apps — to cherry-pick takeover candidates.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said while there is a link to what FTC claims, the U.S. agency is focused on the competition aspect while they were “looking at the consumer.”

“We will review the recent filing by the ACCC and will continue to defend our position in response to this recent filing,” a Facebook spokesperson said, as per Reuters.

The spokesperson said that the social media giant was “always clear about the information we collect and how it is used.”

Why It Matters: The VPN product at the center of the lawsuit was shut down in 2019, noted Reuters. 

Competition law specialist Rob Nicholls told the newswire that the Australian lawsuit is centered around making the company change the way it discloses its activities to users, unlike the U.S. action — which may force the company to sell its assets.

On Tuesday, Facebook lashed out at Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) and said it hopes the European Union would set boundaries for the fellow tech giant over issues related to tech companies favoring their own services on platforms they own.

Price Action: Facebook shares closed nearly 0.5% higher at $275.55 on Tuesday and fell 0.38% in the after-hours session.


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