The CNIL, France’s data privacy authority, fined Alphabet’s Google a record 150 million euros ($169 million) on Thursday for making it difficult for internet users to refuse online trackers known as cookies.
According to the CNIL, Facebook, which is owned by Meta Platforms, was also penalized 60 million euros for the same reason.
The two enterprises had three months to comply with the authority’s requirements or face a penalty of 100,000 euros per day they were late.
Among them is Google’s and Facebook’s need to provide French internet users with simpler tools for refusing cookies in order to ensure their permission.
While Google and Facebook offered a virtual button to allow immediate acceptance of cookies, the CNIL stated that there was no counterpart to instantly deny them.
A spokesperson said, “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.”
In 2020, the CNIL imposed a record fine of 100 million euros against Google.
The CNIL found at the time that Google’s French websites failed to get visitors’ prior authorization before installing advertising cookies on their computers and failed to offer clear information about how it planned to use them.
Since then, according to Kiefer, the difficulties have been fixed.
The CNIL strengthened consent rights over ad trackers in 2020, requiring websites operating in France to preserve a six-month log of internet users’ refusal to accept cookies.