France fines Google and Facebook for pushing tracking cookies on users with dark patterns

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

If you ever feel like websites have turned the simple business of rejecting tracking cookies into a labyrinthine task that involves close-reading of multiple dialog boxes, then France’s data protection agency has your back. The watchdog (CNIL) has fined Google €150 million ($170 million) and Facebook €60 million ($68 million) for making it too confusing for users to reject cookies. The companies now have three months to change their ways in France.

With Facebook, CNIL notes that in order to refuse cookies, French users first have to click on a button labelled “Accept cookies” (emphasis ours). Such labelling “necessarily generates confusion,” says CNIL, leading users to believe they have no choice in the matter.

With Google, the problem…

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Author: James Vincent