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  • Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2019.

    Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., October 23, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 December 2019

Facebook has 10 days to appeal the decision. The fine should be paid within 30 days.

Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security has sentenced Facebook with a US$1.6 million fine for sharing data belonging to 443,000 Brazilian users in relation to the Cambridge Analytica case.

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According to the government, there is evidence of an “abusive” practice when it came to the data of these users by Facebook Inc and Facebook Serviços Online do Brasil Ltda. Facebook has 10 days to appeal the decision and the fine should be paid within 30 days.

“It is clear that data from the approximately 443,000 users of the platform were in misuse by the developers of thisisyourdigitallife application for questionable purposes, to say the least,” concluded the Department of Consumer Protection (DPDC), which depends on the Ministry, in a statement released on Monday.

The case was investigated after the media reported in April 2018 that Brazilian Facebook users may have fallen victim to the misuse of their data by the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

The data analysis company, which allegedly collaborated with the team of U.S. President Donald Trump during the 2016 election campaign, said it used data provided by Facebook to develop a computer program designed to predict the decisions of voters and exert influence.

At that time, the DPDC was waiting for the testimony that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave before the U.S. Congress. Then his testimony justified the opening of a judicial procedure against the company as well as an investigation into the alleged leak that affected Brazilian users.

According to Facebook, of the nearly 87 million people who had their data exposed, some 443,000 are users in Brazil and they have already been notified about what happened.

But the ministry said the world's largest social network failed to provide users with adequate information regarding default privacy settings, particularly related to data of "friends" and "friends of friends."

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