Spanish regulators fine Facebook $1.4 million over data-collection practices

Spanish regulators fine Facebook $1.4 million over data-collection practices
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Spanish regulators on Monday slapped Facebook with a $1.4 million fine over how it collects personal information on its users.

The Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) said that it found three cases of Facebook collecting information on ideology, sex, religious beliefs, personal tastes and browser history without properly notifying users what the data was being obtained for.

The Spanish watchdog also said that Facebook did not properly inform users that it collects cookies on non-Facebook websites that contain a “Like” button.

According to the AEPD, Belgium, France, Hamburg and the Netherlands conducted similar investigations into Facebook’s data-collection practices as well.

Facebook says that it rejects the agency’s decision and will appeal the penalty.

“As we made clear to the [European Data Protection Agency], users choose which information they want to add to their profile and share with others, such as their religion,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “However, we do not use this information to target advertisements to people.”

As the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company has grown its profits through advertising, it has faced increasing scrutiny for its data-collection practices and targeted advertising. Skeptics have questioned Facebook's vast store of user data and raised security concerns about having such stockpiles of sensitive information.