Social media platform Facebook has always been on the receiving end of criticism for its intrusive data collection methods and not respecting its users’ privacy.
In a case brought forward by Belgium’s privacy watchdog, a Belgian court fined Facebook with a penalty of up to hundred million euros ($125 million) for breaking privacy laws and tracking people on third party websites.
The court ruled that Facebook had to delete the data it had collected unlawfully on the Belgian citizens, including those who were not Facebook users themselves. The social networking website will be fined 250,000 euros a day or up to 100 million euros if it does not abide by the court’s judgment, said in a statement.
“Facebook informs us insufficiently about gathering information about us, the kind of data it collects, what it does with that data and how long it stores it,” the court said.
“It also does not gain our consent to collect and store all this information,” it added in a statement.
The social media group uses different methods to track the online behavior of people if they are not on the company’s web site by placing cookies and invisible pixels on third-party web sites, the court said.
Richard Allan, Facebook’s vice president of public policy for Europe, Middle East Africa said, “We’ll comply with this new law, just as we’ve complied with existing data protection law in Europe.”
Facebook has also said that the technologies it employs comply with industry standards and users are given the right to opt out of data collection on websites and applications that are used for advertisements. It also said that it would appeal the ruling.
Belgium’s privacy watchdog welcomed the ruling. “Facebook has just launched a large campaign where they stress the importance of privacy. We hope they will now make this a reality,” it said.