Business Competence S.r.l, a small Milan-based software firm has successfully forced Facebook to drop its ‘nearby’ geo-location feature citing copyright violation and competition laws.
The newly introduced feature allowed Facebook users to quickly and easily find friends in their surrounding area.
The courts of Milan found that Facebook’s “Nearby Places” feature had been launched shortly after the Faround location-sharing app(developed by Business Competence) had been added to the app store. The sudden introduction of the feature resulted in a major drop in download numbers, and subsequent loss of earnings, for Business Competence.
Facebook has been told to suspend the feature immediately or face a daily fine of 15,000 euros.
The ruling was issued in August 2016, but was only made public by Business Competence on Monday, ahead of a second hearing planned for April.
The courts also ordered Facebook to publish the sentence on its own website and two major Italian national newspapers.
The ruling is thought to be the first of its kind in Italy and possibly the world.