Korea goes after Facebook

Facebook has had its knuckles rapped from a South Korean Regulator, which claims it’s in breach of data privacy laws.

Facebook has a big following in Korea with just under two thirds of the population using it and other social-networking services. The Korea Communications Commission also estimates that the social networking site has around 2.3 million members in the country, which accounts for roughly five percent of the population.

The KCC has told Facebook that it needs to do a better job of getting consent from users when getting their personal information. It’s also been pulled up for the way it handles personal information, the personal information it shares with third parties as well as it’s overall privacy policy.

“Facebook violates the regulations on protection of privacy in information networks,” Choi Seong Jin, a spokesman for the KCC told the Korea Herald. He added that Facebook had 30 days to respond to the complaint.

The KCC is coming down on Facebook using Article 22 of South Korea’s Act on Promotion of Information and Communication Network Utilisation and Information Protection.

This Act’s purpose is to promote the use of information and communications networks, to protect the user’s personal information when they are in use of information and communications services, and to construct a milieu within which users can safely use information and communications networks with the aim of improving individual lives as well as the general public welfare.

It states: “If an information and communications service provider intends to gather user personal information, they shall obtain user consent.

“Every user shall strive to establish a healthy information society. The Government may assist in the protection of user personal information and protect juveniles from possible abuse from information and communications networks by cooperating with, and supporting, information and communications service provider organisations and user organisations.

The new scandal could come as a blow to Facebook, which yesterday announced that it was aiming to attract South Korea’s business conglomerates to use its service to engage consumers, and boost its presence in Asia.

“Right now, we are interested in introducing Facebook to marketers in South Korea,” Stephen Dolan, commercial director for Facebook’s Singapore office, told Yonhap on the sidelines of a conference in Seoul.

“At the moment, we’re mainly talking to chaebols, to Samsung, Hyundai, Kia, LG,” he said, listing the name of South Korea’s top business conglomerates owned by families.