Judge: Facebook violates user privacy in NL

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Judge: Facebook violates user privacy in NL

The Consumers’ Association and the Data Privacy Foundation are right. The judge ruled today that Facebook has indeed violated the privacy of Dutch users. Facebookers from our country are said to be insufficiently informed about what exactly happens to their data.

Contractual Necessity

It is a damper for Meta, the parent company of Facebook, which has already indicated that it will appeal. Facebook (which has already announced a major round of layoffs) is facing a lot, because it violates the Privacy Act. This stipulates that it must always be clear for what purpose privacy-sensitive data are processed. The social medium has reneged in this, the Dutch court believes. Facebook itself believes that it did so out of ‘contractual necessity’.

We have known for years that Facebook uses the data to offer advertisements. After all, the more specific you can advertise, the greater the chance that someone will make a purchase. So the more a company knows about a person, the better. That’s why data is such a goldmine for websites that you can use for free. As soon as you create an account, they start earning money. Or at least, they can use your data to have companies advertise in a very targeted way, such as only women of a certain age and from a certain region.

Sensitive data on Facebook

That sensitive data can go a long way. In addition to the age, place of residence and gender just mentioned, this also includes, for example, who your friends are on Facebook, where you surf to on Facebook and which apps someone uses. Data on sexual preference and religion also play a role in this. Now it is already a bad thing that Facebook processes that data without clearly informing users about this, that data is also available to external developers. Even information about where you surf outside of Facebook is known.

The Consumers’ Association sees this won lawsuit as an example for other companies. It hopes that others will also be more careful with the privacy law. Incidentally, it is not the case that Facebook is currently still violating the Privacy Act in this way: it did so between 2010 and 2020. In 2020, the Consumers’ Association very actively called on Facebook users to join the lawsuit. Many people have done that: 190,000 people. If you still want to join, you can. Go to for that this website.

Damages

Signing up can be interesting, not only to show that you don’t accept it, but also because financial compensation may follow. At least that is what the Consumers’ Association alludes to. The ruling that has now been made does not automatically mean that Facebook has to give people compensation. With this ruling, the Consumers’ Association can enter into discussions with Facebook about compensation. If Facebook does not want that, it can still go to court.

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