Facebook hit with $369M fine in South Korea over internet speed

The social network slowed users' internet connections by rerouting access to the site through Hong Kong and the US, the country's telecommunications regulator says.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

Facebook is facing a multimillion dollar fine in South Korea.


It's looking like things are going from bad to worse for Facebook.

South Korea's telecommunications regulator has fined the social network for allegedly slowing down the internet connection for some of its local users, according to ABC News. The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) set the fine at $369 million (or 396 million won) on Wednesday.

"We are disappointed with the KCC's decision," a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement. "We strive to deliver optimal performance for all our users and will continue working with Korean internet service providers toward this goal." 

Facebook has had a rough week. Last Friday, reports said data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica stole information from 50 million Facebook users in order to influence politics. This data was reportedly used to win over voters to the Brexit effort in the UK and the election of President Donald Trump in the US. South Korea fining Facebook has nothing to do with the Cambridge Analytica ordeal, though.

The KCC said that from late 2016 to late 2017, Facebook rerouted some users' access to its site through Hong Kong or the US, according to ABC. Because Facebook didn't use local networks, those users' internet connections decreased by as much as 4.5 times. Some people said the connection was so slow they couldn't play videos on the social media site.

"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, according to ABC.

The KCC started its investigation into Facebook's rerouting in May.

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