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France fines Google, Facebook millions over tracking consent, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

France fines Google, Facebook millions over tracking consent, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity
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France hits Google and Facebook with huge fines over cookies

French regulators on Thursday fined Google and Facebook a total of more than 200 million euros ($226 million) for not making it as easy for people to opt out of online tracking as they are for them to accept it. CNIL’s data privacy watchdog said its investigation found that while the online giants in the US gave French users a single button to instantly accept cookies, there was no equally simple way for them to decline because “several clicks are required to reject all cookies”. Cookies.”

Cookies are extracts of code used to target Internet users for digital advertising and for other purposes. European governments have stricter regulations than the United States which requires websites to seek permission before tracking user activity. This means that people encounter popups when they visit new websites, but there is a growing concern that many are configured to make them confusing or tedious if they do not want to give consent.

CNIL said that visitors to Facebook and the French homepage on Google and YouTube were urged to say yes, meaning they did not give their consent freely, a violation of French data protection rules.

The French watchdog imposed a fine of 150 million euros ($170 million) on Google, and imposed a fine on Facebook of 60 million euros ($68 million). It also threatened daily fines of 100,000 euros if it did not make it easier for users in France to refuse cookies within three months.

Facebook, which has been renamed Meta, said it was reviewing the decision and committed to working with the authorities.

“Cookie consent controls give people greater control over their data, including a new settings menu on Facebook and Instagram where people can reconsider and manage their decisions at any time, and we continue to develop and improve these controls,” the company said.

Google said, “People trust us to respect their right to privacy and keep them safe. We understand our responsibility to protect that trust and are committed to making further changes and working actively with CNIL in light of this decision.”

Cookies have long been a source of privacy concerns because they can be used to track users across the Internet. They can be used to help remember someone’s website login details or, more arguably, to record someone’s web browsing history to target personalized ads.

The French sanction underscores a broader shift in the digital advertising industry, as market-dominated Google and Facebook, and regulators in Europe and the United States work to phase out more egregious data collection practices. Google has announced plans to phase out so-called third-party cookies that advertisers use from its Chrome browsers, although it will still be able to track users of its own services.


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