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Facebook hit with fine in South Korea for limiting user access

It rerouted networks which caused users’ connections to slow.
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Chesnot via Getty Images

South Korea's telecommunications regulator is fining Facebook 396 million won (approximately $396,706) for slowing users' connections in 2016 and 2017. ABC News reports that the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) began investigating Facebook's actions last May and determined that the company had violated a law prohibiting the unnecessary limitation of user access. The problem arose when the social media giant began rerouting some South Korean users' Facebook access to networks in Hong Kong and the US. In some cases that caused connections to slow by as much as 450 percent.

"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," the KCC said in a statement. "When controversies erupted in South Korea about Facebook's rerouting, the company restored the connections to their original state around October and November of 2017." ISPs in the country received multiple complaints per day regarding slow connections during the timeframe in which Facebook was rerouting to non-domestic networks.

Facebook claimed it didn't violate the South Korean law because its terms of use say that it can't guarantee its services won't be subject to delays. However, the KCC didn't accept the argument and has recommended Facebook change that section of its terms of use. In a statement, Facebook said, "We are disappointed with the KCC's decision. We strive to deliver optimal performance for all our users and will continue working with Korean internet service providers toward this goal."

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