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South Korea slaps Facebook with $370m fine for slowing user internet connections

DESPITE HAVING A DESPOT regime on its doorstep, South Korea has decided to tangle with Facebook and has fined the social network giant for slowing down user internet connections between 2016 and 2017.

The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) threw a fine of 396 million won (around $370m) at Facebook after an investigation found that the company had routed its users’ network connections through Hong Kong and US networks without notifying them, reported ABC News.

While this doesn’t sound like the biggest of deals, South Korea prohibits online service providers from using foreign ISPs when local providers are available. Facebook’s surreptitious routing, in particular, was found to slow users’ internet connections up to 4.5 times.

“Facebook did not actively look into the complaints from local telecoms service providers that users are complaining about slower connections and, as a result, its service quality was not maintained at an appropriate level,” said the KCC.

Facebook did restore connections to local ISPs in autumn 2017 after its rerouteing was thrust into the public eye. Local ISPs apparently received a deluge of complaints with some people bemoaning their internet connections speeds were slowed to the extent that they couldn’t watch videos on Facebook.

With one of the best and fasted internet networks in the world, South Korea takes its connectivity very seriously, so it’s no surprise Facebook is feeling the heat from the country.

But Mark Zuckerberg’s company noted that it doesn’t guarantee it services would operate flawlessly and without interference and isn’t happy about the fine.

“We are disappointed with the KCC’s decision,” Facebook stated. “We strive to deliver optimal performance for all our users and will continue working with Korean internet service providers toward this goal.”

The KCC wasn’t convinced and said Facebook needs to rework its terms of service to be clear on what its users are getting into when they use the social network.

Combined with the Cambridge Analytica probe over the mishandling of data, Facebook isn’t having the best week. µ

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