Google fined 150M€, Facebook 60M€ for assymetric cookie dialogs

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Google fined 150M€, Facebook 60M€ for assymetric cookie dialogs

06 January 2022


Following investigations, the CNIL noted that the websites facebook.com, google.fr and youtube.com do not make refusing cookies as easy as to accept them. It thus fines FACEBOOK 60 million euros and GOOGLE 150 million euros and orders them to comply within three months.

The restricted committee, the body of the CNIL responsible for issuing sanctions, has noted, following investigations, that the websites facebook.com, google.fr and youtube.com offer a button allowing the user to immediately accept cookies. However, they do not provide an equivalent solution (button or other) enabling the Internet user to easily refuse the deposit of these cookies. Several clicks are required to refuse all cookies, against a single one to accept them.

The restricted committee considered that this process affects the freedom of consent: since, on the Internet, the user expects to be able to quickly consult a website, the fact that they cannot refuse the cookies as easily as they can accept them influences their choice in favor of consent. This constitutes an infringement of Article 82 of the French Data Protection Act. 

As a result of this infringement, the CNIL’s restricted committee issued:

In addition to the fines, the restricted committee ordered the companies to provide Internet users located in France with a means of refusing cookies as simple as the existing means of accepting them, in order to guarantee their freedom of consent, within three months. If they fail to do so, the companies will have to pay a penalty of 100,000 euros per day of delay.

These two decisions are part of the global compliance strategy initiated by the CNIL over the past two years with French and foreign actors publishing websites with a lot of visits and having practices contrary to the legislation on cookies.

Since March 31, 2021, when the deadline set for websites and mobile applications to comply with the new rules on cookies expired, the CNIL has adopted nearly 100 corrective measures (orders and sanctions) related to non-compliance with the legislation on cookies.

Refusing cookies should be as easy as accepting them - the CNIL fines Google and Facebook. The investigations: the CNIL has received many complaints reporting the way cookies can be refused on the websites facebook.com, google.fr and youtube.com. Online investigations were carried out on these websites. The breaches : a button allows immediate acceptance of cookies but there is no equivalent solution to refuse them equally easy. This process affects the freedom of consent of Internet users and constitues and infringement of Article 82 of the French Data Protection Act. The decisions : the CNIL's restricted committee issued: a fined of 60 million euros against FACEBOOK, a fine of 150 million euros against GOOGLE

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2 thoughts on “Google fined 150M€, Facebook 60M€ for assymetric cookie dialogs

  1. Aditya avatar

    Dumb question – I always come on HN, where lots of web devs hang out, and see people decrying dark patterns. So who builds this stuff?

  2. Aditya avatar

    It's a shame there aren't more big fines for shitty sites, like stackoverflow.com, that punish people who don't accept all cookies by prompting on every visit.

    If that's not bad enough, having an "Accept all" button but requiring another click to have the option of refusing, then making us manually select each category to turn off, then confirming, is certainly not symmetric.

    These large sites know exactly what they're doing. They're hoping people will become fed up enough to just accept, or they're hoping there'll be enough accidents where people click "Accept all". It's rather shitty.