In the same week where social media giant Facebook is being investigated by both the US and the UK, it is now facing additional legal troubles with South Korea imposing a fine of $370 million for slowing down internet connections for Facebook users from 2016 to 2017.
An investigation conducted by the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) produced findings that Facebook had routed South Korea’s network users connections via the US and Hong Kong without giving notice.
South Korean law forbids online service providers to use ISPs from other countries in the event of local providers’ availability. Facebook’s re-routing caused South Korean users’s connections to slow down by as much as 4.5 times.
The KCC announced that companies from local telecommunications providers that the connections had slowed down had gone unheeded, and that Facebook’s “service quality was not maintained at an appropriate level.”
Late last year the social media giant brought connections back to local ISPs when its rerouting practices were made public. South Korean IPSs faced voluminous complaints about slow connectivity from their customers, some of whom could not even watch videos on Facebook.
South Korea has one of the fastest and best network connectivity in the world, and therefore, the social media network should be unsurprised that complaints about slowness are not taken lightly.
Facebook is understandably disappointed with the fine, and announced that switching its routing practices does not automatically guarantee perfect service. The company says that they “strive to deliver optimal performance for all our users and will continue working with Korean internet service providers toward this goal.”
This did not placate Korea Communications Commission, who emphasized that Facebook’s terms of service need to be clearly stated so that users know exactly what they are getting into.