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Facebook Gets $4m Fine From Hungary for Claim Services Are Free

By Marton EderDecember 6, 2019, 10:23 AM EST

Hungary’s competition watchdog handed Facebook Inc. a 1.2 billion forint ($4 million) fine for claiming its services were free.

Facebook made a profit from utilizing users’ online activity and data, which served as “payment” for the services, the Budapest-based authority said in an emailed statement on Friday. Claiming the website was free may have misled users regarding the value of the data they were giving the technology firm, it said. A Facebook spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

The competition watchdog said the fine was the highest in the eastern European nation’s history for violations of consumer rights. The social media giant has been embroiled in multiple European Union privacy investigations into whether it is complying with the bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation.

The Hungarian watchdog said the misleading statements were featured on the Facebook site from 2010 until Oct. 23, 2019, noting that Facebook changed its terms and conditions this year under EU pressure.