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Facebook fined $224,000 over privacy breaches

Thompson Reuters

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PARIS — France’s data protection watchdog CNIL has fined Facebook 150,000 euros ($224,000) for failing to prevent its users’ data being accessed by advertisers.

The fine is small in the context of the company, which has quarterly revenue of about $US8 billion ($11 billion) and a stock market capitalisation which stands at about $435 billion ($586 billion). But it is the maximum amount the CNIL could fine when it started the investigation on the tech giant.

CNIL said its fine — which was imposed on both Facebook Inc and Facebook Ireland — was part of a wider European investigation also being carried out in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany into some of Facebook’s practices.

The CNIL can now issue fines of up to 3 million euros ($4.5 million), after the passing of a new law in October 2016.

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Last year, the French watchdog had given Facebook a deadline to stop tracking non-users’ web activity without their consent and ordered the social network to stop some transfers of personal data to the United States.

Facebook argued that the Irish data protection authority, not the CNIL, was the competent authority to formulate such orders, as the social media company’s European headquarters are located in Dublin.

In a statement on Tuesday, Facebook did not say whether it would now take action as a result of the fine.

“We take note of the CNIL’s decision with which we respectfully disagree,” Facebook said in a statement.

“Over recent years, we’ve simplified our policies further to help people understand how we use information to make Facebook better.”

The French order was the first significant action taken against a company transferring Europeans’ data to the US following an EU court ruling last year that struck down an agreement that thousands of companies, including Facebook, had relied on to avoid cumbersome EU data transfer rules.

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Google changes YouTube revenue rule

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — Google is making the biggest changes ever to the advertising rules on the most popular video platform, YouTube, since the video site’s inception, an attempt to clean up its content and answer persistent complaints from advertisers.

The world’s largest video platform will kick thousands of people out of its ad revenue-sharing program, and will make it much harder for new ones to get into the program. The change is among one of YouTube’s responses to a year of criticism it has generated for a series of scandals involving questionable and offensive content that has appeared on the site.

YouTube will now impose stricter rule for video types that can earn money on the site and will introduce a new vetting process for the top-shelf videos it offers advertisers, the company said Tuesday in a statement.

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YouTube’s new rules require anyone who wants to generate revenue on the platform to first generate 4,000 hours of ‘watchtime’ over a 12-month period, and to attract at least 1,000 subscribers.

That replaces a lower hurdle of 10,000 lifetime views, which the site instituted last spring, after a first wave of negative stories about rogue content.

YouTube, in a blog post, says the new rules will affect ‘a significant’ number of its user-created channels, but won’t provide an official tally.

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