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France fines Facebook Ireland over website cookies issue

The CNIL, data privacy agency of France, penalised Facebook Ireland Limited 60 million euros on December 31, 2021, because users of the social network facebook.com in France couldn’t refuse cookies as readily as they may accept them. Many people have complained to the CNIL about how they can refuse cookies on the website facebook.com.

The CNIL performed an online investigation on this website in April 2021 and discovered that, while it provides a button to accept cookies instantly, it does not provide an equal option (button or otherwise) that allows the user to refuse the cookies as readily. To reject all cookies, you will need more than one click, but to allow them, you only need one.

Making the denial process more complicated really inhibits users from declining cookies and encourages them to choose for the convenience of the permission option for cookies in the initial window, according to the limited committee, the CNIL body responsible for awarding sanctions. It was thought that such a method harmed Internet users’ freedom of consent.

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It was thought that such a term would inevitably cause confusion and that the user could get the impression that they cannot deny the deposit of cookies and that they have no control over it.

Facebook Ireland Limited was fined 60 million euros by the restricted committee, which made the decision public.

In addition to the administrative fine, the restricted committee issued an injunction with a periodic penalty payment requiring the company to provide Internet users in France with a method of refusing cookies that is as simple as the existing method of accepting them within three months of notification of the decision, in order to ensure the freedom of their consent.

Otherwise, the corporation may be fined 100,000 euros for each day it is late.

As the use of cookies is carried out within the framework of activities of the company Facebook France, which constitutes the establishment of the Facebook group on French territory, the restricted committee concluded that the CNIL is also territorially competent under Article 3 of the French Data Protection Act.


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