Facebook dramatically loses lawsuit and could end up facing total fines of some $156,000,000 (100 million euro) if it continues to break the country’s privacy laws by tracking its users on third-party websites.
The high profile case against the social-media giant was brought by Belgium’s privacy watchdog, who claimed that Facebook was acting illegally by tracking web users without their explicit consent even after they opened new webpages.
The court based its verdict on evidence presented by the Belgium watchdog into Facebook’s use of tracking scripts, cookies, plugins, invisible pixels and Like buttons.
It is understood that Facebook had collected tracking information on everyone who used its website, regardless of whether they had an account or not.
Anouk Devenyns, the judge in the case said: “The court has comes to the conclusion that Facebook does not inform us enough about the fact that it collects information about us… There’s too much uncertainty about the nature of the information it collects, what happens to that information and how long the company stores that information.”
The original probe by the Belgium watchdog took place in 2015. The court verdict also stated that Facebook has run afoul of European Union privacy laws as well.
$310,000 a day
As a result of the court case, Facebook can now face a fine of up to $310,000 a day, until it complies totally with Belgium’s ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ and deletes the now ‘illegal’ user collected data.
As a further consequence of the court ruling, Facebook has also been ordered to publish the complete court verdict on its website for all to see. “We’ll comply with this new law, just as we’ve complied with existing data protection law in Europe,” said a spokesperson for Facebook.
The company isn’t happy with the decision though, and has said it will appeal.
Richard Allan, the company’s vice-president of public policy in Europe said that “the cookies and pixels we use are industry standard technologies, and enable hundreds of thousands of businesses to grow their businesses and reach customers across the EU.”