1.5 Billion Fines! Why Were Google And Facebook Punished?


On January 6, local time, the French National Freedom of Information Commission (CNIL) issued a notice stating that the agency decided to impose a fine of 60 million euros (approximately RMB 430 million) on Facebook for failing to comply with the relevant provisions of the Data Protection Act. Google was fined 150 million euros (approximately 1.1 billion yuan).

The reason given by CNIL is that when users use the products of the above two companies, they need to click multiple times to close the cookie (a kind of online activity tracking), and they only need to click once to accept. CNIL believes that the complexity of this rejection mechanism is tantamount to the opposite of rejecting cookies from users, thus clicking the “support” button.

At the same time, the way Facebook is accused of presenting information is not clear. The notification pointed out that the information presented by Facebook about “turning off cookies” can easily confuse users.

1.5 billion huge penalties

A few days ago, the French data privacy regulator imposed a total of 210 million euros (1.5 billion yuan) fines on Google and Facebook because they prevented users from preventing the two companies from tracking their online activities.

The French National Commission for Information and Freedom (CNIL) stated on January 6 that it had imposed a record 150 million euro fine on Google for making it difficult for Internet users to refuse cookies. Facebook was fined 6000 for the same reason. Million euros.

It is understood that cookies are small text files of personal network activity files established for commercial purposes, which can track users’ online behaviors and activities.

“If you accept cookies, you just need to click it. Rejecting cookies should be as easy as accepting them.” CNIL’s Director of Data Protection and Sanctions Karin Kiefer said that Facebook.com, google.fr and youtube. com is not Allowing users to easily reject cookies. “Take Facebook as an example. It takes several clicks to reject all cookies, rather than accepting them once.” The local regulatory authority said that Google and Facebook have three months to adjust and comply with orders, including allowing French users to update. It is easy to refuse cookies, otherwise, you will have to pay an extra 100,000 Euro fine for each day of delay.

On the same day, Google and Facebook responded quickly to the above-mentioned punishments. “Users believe that we will respect their privacy and ensure their safety. We understand that we have a responsibility to protect this trust and are committed to making further changes based on this decision and actively cooperating with the National Investigation Commission.” A Google spokesperson Express.

In a statement to Agence France-Presse, Google said it would change its approach by this decision. “By the expectations of Internet users, we are committed to implementing new changes and actively cooperating with CNIL’s decision,” the company said.

In addition, a spokesperson for Facebook’s parent company Meta said: “We are reviewing the authorities’ decisions and will continue to work with relevant authorities. Our cookie consent controls provide people with greater control over their data, including those on Facebook and Instagram. People can revisit and manage their decisions at any time, and we will continue to develop and improve these controls.”

It is understood that after the implementation of an EU law aimed at protecting consumer privacy in 2018, the company was required to inform people about the use of cookies and ask for consent. In 2020, CNIL strengthened the right to consent to ad trackers, stating that websites operating in France should keep records of Internet users’ refusal to accept cookies for at least 6 months.