French regulators on Thursday ordered American online giants Google and Facebook to pay a total of 200 million euros ($226 million) for not making it as easy for people to opt-out of online tracking as it is for them to accept it.
Based on its investigations, the regulators discovered that while the U.S. online giants gave French users a single button to immediately accept cookies, there wasn’t an equally simple way for them to decline because “several clicks are required to refuse all cookies.”
Sources define cookies as snippets of code used to target internet users for digital ads and other purposes.
It was learned that European governments have stricter regulations than the U.S. that require websites to ask for permission before tracking a user’s activity.
This sticker regulation allows people to face pop-up menus when they visit new websites, but there’s been growing concern that many are configured to make it confusing or tedious if they don’t want to give consent.
Acting on the French regulators’ decision, Facebook which is now called Meta said they will review the decision and will work with authorities to correct it.
“Our cookie consent controls provide people with greater control over their data, including a new settings menu on Facebook and Instagram where people can revisit and manage their decisions at any time, and we continue to develop and improve these controls,” Meta said.
Google for its part said they always respect the privacy of their users.
“People trust us to respect their right to privacy and keep them safe. We understand our responsibility to protect that trust and are committing to further changes and active work with the CNIL in light of this decision,” Google said.