ITALY: Facebook Inc has suspended its location-sharing feature in Italy after a Milan court ruled last year that the social networking giant had violated competition and copyright laws by effectively copying a similar app from a local start-up.
Italian software developer Business Competence filed a lawsuit in 2013, accusing Facebook’s Nearby feature of having copied its Faround application, which allows its users to locate Facebook friends in the vicinity.
A copy of the court’s ruling, issued on Aug. 1 last year but only made public on Monday, stated that Facebook launched its Nearby feature only months after Faround was included in the social network’s app store back in 2012.
Facebook said it has discontinued offering what it now calls Nearby Places in Italy while it appeals against the court’s ruling.
The court ordered Facebook to suspend Nearby Places in Italy or pay fines of5,000 euros per day for copyright infringement and unfair competition. Facebook may have to pay further damages to be determined at a later stage, experts say.
In an emailed statement to Reuters, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We believe the order was wrongly decided, but we have respectfully complied with the order in the interim.”