Hungary watchdog fines Facebook for misleading users

FILE PHOTO: The Facebook application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary’s competition watchdog has fined Facebook 1.2 billion forints ($4 million), its biggest fine to date, for misleading users by claiming its services were free.

The watchdog said Facebook Ireland had breached the law with adverts posted on its front page and help center.

“While users did not have to pay a fee for using the service, they still made a profit for the company through their user activity and data,” the watchdog said on Friday.

It said the user data Facebook gathered enabled it to post targeted ads for users. In addition, users were not aware of the amount and value of data handed over to Facebook while using the service.

When setting the fine, the watchdog did note that Facebook had since amended the misleading statements.

Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Christina Fincher