France fines Facebook and Google over use of cookies

French regulators have issued fines to Facebook and Google over their use of cookies which, they argue, make it difficult for internet users to refuse online trackers.

A wider focus on online consent

French data privacy watchdog, CNIL, has issued fines to Facebook and Google of over €210m (£175m) in total for making it difficult for internet users to opt-out of being tracked online.

It comes as consent remains a fundamental concern for the EU’s data privacy regulations and, as a result, a chief priority for the CNIL.

The social media giants have been given three months to comply and pay the fines to avoid facing penalties of up to €100,000 (£83,000) per day after the deadline has passed.

In 2019, Google was also hit with a €50m (£41m) fine, the largest fine the CNIL had ever issued at the time, for its approach to data privacy in the region.

A need for immediate change

Karin Kiefer, CNIL’s head of data protection and sanctions, explained how the process of accepting cookies should be revised: “When you accept cookies, it’s done in just one click,” she said. “Rejecting cookies should be as easy as accepting them.”

In a statement, the CNIL confirmed that whilst Facebook and Google do provide a virtual button to allow for the instant acceptance of cookies, the option to refuse them wasn’t quite as clear-cut.

Google, which was fined €150m (£124m) responded: “People trust us to respect their right to privacy and keep them safe. We understand our responsibility to protect that trust and are committing to further changes and active work with the CNIL in [the] light of this decision.”

Facebook has yet to issue a formal response but reassured users that it was “reviewing” its €60m (£49m) fine.

Related Posts

Get the latest affiliate news to your inbox

Join 1000’s of digital marketers who want to keep up to date with Affiliate Marketing trends across all verticals. Sign up to our weekly Newsletter and stay updated with all our industry news, insights and interviews.

Partner Directory