Facebook ordered to pay millions in damages to Italian company for copying app

The company has been ordered to pay €3.83 million (about $5.9 million CAD)

Facebook has been ordered to pay €3.83 million (about $5.9 million CAD) in damages to an Italian software development company.

A Milan-based appeals court has upheld a 2019 ruling that concluded Facebook copied its ‘Nearby’ feature from the Italian company, which is called Business Competence. The judges have concluded that Facebook’s feature copied the company’s app called ‘Faround.’

The Faround app essentially allows users to find Facebook friends near them. Months after the app was launched, Facebook rolled out its ‘Nearby’ feature, after which downloads of Faround had reportedly significantly declined.

Business Competence filed a lawsuit against Facebook in 2013, with the court issuing a preliminary ruling in its favour in 2016.

Following the ruling, the social media giant agreed to discontinue its ‘Nearby’ feature in Italy as it appealed the ruling, However, the court has sided with Business Competence. It’s worth noting that the court increased the amount of damages that Facebook will have to pay, as it was initially only set at €300,000 (about $468,000 CAD).

A spokesperson from Facebook told Reuters that it has received the court’s decision and is “examining it carefully.”

Source: Reuters, The Verge