Once again Facebook has made headlines. Nothing really new, right now Mark Zuckerberg does not necessarily have a lucky streak as far as his "baby" is concerned. But how did Facebook get angry this time? You may not know it, but Facebook can track your browsing behavior without your permission. The findings then sold the portal then profitable to advertisers. Your personal "Shares" and "Likes" will expose your entire browsing behavior to the digital world - according to Belgian privacy watchdog Belgian Privacy Commission (BPC).
High penalties for Facebook
Not so great, the whole thing ... Also found the Belgian judges and the social media giants have sentenced to severe penalties, as long as he does not abolish this behavior. Now that Facebook is not one of the poor gobblers, the punishments are neat. You could make about $ 125 million dollars plus 300.000 dollars for every additional day the system is online. In addition, Facebook must delete all data previously collected illegally.
Already sanctioned for the second time
Not bad - but certainly also due to the fact that the company is sanctioned for the second time. 2015 filed a civil suit against Facebook against the BPC. The content of the complaint was the secret monitoring of non-users via social plug-ins, canvas fingerprinting ("pixels") and more. What did Facebook do? It ignored the lawsuit and BPC went to court.
What Facebook says about the allegations
As expected, Facebook is not happy about the decision now because its methods were supposedly misinterpreted. The company pledged improvement and made a statement:
"The cookies and pixels we use are industry standard technologies. They empower hundreds of thousands of businesses to grow their business and reach customers across the EU. We require every company that uses our technologies to communicate this clearly to the end users. We also grant users the right to unsubscribe from the data collection on sites and apps outside of Facebook that are used for advertising. "
Poor, misunderstood Facebook: Actually, it does not do anything good for users and non-users
Facebook also claimed to do nothing illegal or opaque. On the contrary, the company even went so far as to label its activities beneficial to both users and non-users, because the technology would allow them to enjoy more relevant content. Non-users benefit as a result of the protocols of targeted advertising ... so Facebook. This attitude, however, remains suspect - especially in the light of the current legal challenges and the growing customer dislike of advertising, which pursues them like a stalker across the Internet.
EU data protection regulation brings momentum into the discussion
Facebook could be involved in legal proceedings on many fronts. Not least because of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which should be effective with May. This far-reaching law gives privacy a new lease of life by introducing a new system of data breach penalties. These penalties really are, they can make up to 4% of a company's worldwide annual sales ...
Facebook users will suddenly see a light ...
Proponents of the General Data Protection Regulation hope that the tightening conditions will prevent companies like Facebook from tracking their customers' data. One result will be certain that users are increasingly aware of the use of their data by Facebook. They're probably not really interested in being part of the Facebook game that turns private user data into lucrative business.
Quo Vadis, Facebook?
The other factor for Facebook in this saga is its advertisers, who may be nervous about the current turmoil and GDPR launch in late May. To calm and keep them happy, Facebook organizes workshops for SMEs, its main source of revenue. One thing is clear: It will be really exciting to see how Facebook will deal with future legal and regulatory challenges. We stay tuned!