LEGAL NEWS IN THE SPOTLIGHT | The AGCM on lack of transparency and information for Facebook and Instagram users

On 21 May 2024, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) concluded proceedings PS12566, and imposed a fine of 3.5 million Euro jointly and severally on Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd. and the American parent company Meta Platforms Inc. (“Meta”) for engaging in two misleading commercial practices in relation to the creation and management of Facebook and Instagram social network accounts. Notably, the AGCM challenged that Meta (a) failed to immediately inform users registered on Instagram via web about the collection and use of their personal data for commercial purposes, by providing said information only through hyperlinks that were hard to access; and (b) managed the suspension of Facebook and Instagram users’ accounts in violation of professional diligence, insofar as the trader did not clarify how the suspension of the accounts was operated (whether as a result of an automated or “human” check), did not provide users with information about the possibility of challenging the suspension of their accounts, and only granted a limited period (30 days) for users to challenge the suspension decision. Both types of conducts were qualified as misleading commercial practices in violation of Articles 20, 21 and 22 of the Italian Consumer Code. The sanction imposed on the trader took into account the fact that Meta ceased both of the challenged practices in the course of the proceedings.

Newsletter n. 97 – June 2024