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The Italian Competition Authority has launched investigations against Facebook Inc. over alleged unfair commercial practices regarding:

i) the information provided by the company during the registration to the Facebook platform, with reference to the methods for collecting and using the users’ data for commercial purposes, including information generated by Facebook users while using apps belonging to the group and by accessing third party websites / apps;

ii) the automatic activation of the platform for the exchange of personal data from/to third parties for every time the user accesses or uses third party websites and apps, with general authorization validity devoid of user consent, only providing an opt-out option. In particular, the option available to the user to renounce to this method or to proceed would be pre-set as the box to consent to the transfer of data is already ticked.

According to the Authority, these behaviours comprise two distinct unfair commercial practices in violation of the Articles. 20, 21, 22, 24 and 25, of the Consumer Code, because, on the one hand, Facebook would not inform the user adequately and immediately, during the activation of the account, of the collection and use, for commercial data, of the data that he transfers.

On the other hand, Facebook exercises undue influence on registered consumers, who, in exchange for using Facebook, would consent to the collection and use of all the information concerning them (information from their personal Facebook profiles, those deriving from the use of Facebook and from their own experiences on third-party sites and apps), in an unconscious and automatic way, through a pre-selection system of consent, and consumers maintain the status quo to avoid any limitations in the use of the service if they decide to deselect.

Rome, 6 April 2018