France slaps Facebook with maximum fine over privacy
Facebook told to pay €150,000 for following users around the web to serve them ads
France has slapped Facebook with its maximum fine for invading users' privacy, a 150,000 charge that's small change versus its $8 billion in revenue last quarter.
The CNIL found Facebook was compiling a "massive" tranche of personal data on users "in order to display targeted advertising". That includes on third-party websites via a cookie, often without user knowledge. After a hearing the CNIL, said it didn't believe users clearly understood the extent to which Facebook was stalking them across the web, add ing that the company doesn't clearly communicate their data rights. The watchdog warned Facebook to stop collecting so much data and to stop sharing some of it with the US, but fined the company when it failed to meet those demands.
Facebook argues the French-led group of data watchdogs aren't the right body to be investigating the social network, instead favouring the Irish regulator as its European operations are based in that country.
"We take note of the CNIL's decision with which we respectfully disagree," the company said in a statement to the Guardian. "At Facebook, putting people in control of their privacy is at the heart of everything we do. Over recent years, we've simplified our policies further to help people understand how we use information to make Facebook better."
The 150,000 fine is a small slice of Facebook's profits, but it's lucky not to be paying more. The CNIL increased its maximum fine to 3 million last year.