Facebook ‘Like’ Button Breaches GDPR

Facebook ‘Like’ Button Breaches GDPR

Businesses designing a new website have a lot of things to think about – from creating an exciting and enticing graphic design that is in line with their brand to producing engaging content that can gather momentum on social media.

Every detail can take a lot of time and thought; however, this is essential as having something as small as a Facebook ‘like’ button could now see companies ending up in hot water. Indeed, following a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), businesses with this social media function on their websites are at risk of breaking General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

According to the ruling, these social sharing icons mean the business becomes a joint data controller, as the widgets track the user’s online activity even when they have left that website and provide data about the individual that the company is then privy to.

As a result, the court ruled that website owners “must provide, at the time of their collection, certain information to those visitors such as, for example, its identity and the purposes of the [data] processing”, The Register reported.

This comes after German retailer Fashion ID used a Facebook button on its website. It, consequently, was sued by consumer rights group Verbraucherzentrale NRW, who asserted that website visitors were providing information regarding their IP address, cookies and browser identifications string without being aware of doing so.

Subsequently, it not only broke the recent GDPR legislation that was introduced last May, but also the EU Data Protection Directive of 1995.

After Fashion ID lost the case in a regional court in 2016, it appealed the outcome with the help of Facebook’s support. Following this, it was taken to the ECJ, with the conclusion set to define regulations across all European websites.

Its decision that Fashion ID was a joint controller as it collected personal data and gave this information to Facebook, has therefore, warned other businesses about using social sharing widgets on their pages.

“The Court holds that the operator of a website such as Fashion ID must obtain that prior consent (solely) in respect of operations for which it is the (joint) controller, namely the collection and transmission of the data,” a statement by the Luxembourg-based ECJ revealed.

Facebook’s associate general counsel Jack Gilbert released a statement in response to the ruling, saying: “[We] will work closely with our partners to ensure they can continue to benefit from our social plugins and other business tools in full compliance with the law.”

However, companies that do not want to find themselves contravening any law, particularly the recently introduced GDPR, may be best avoiding the social media sharing buttons.

GDPR applies to the majority of British businesses to protect the storage, use and sharing of data of members of the public.

It was initiated to safeguard information collected for business purposes and make sure it is used fairly and responsibly. Those who want to ensure they are complying with GDPR when building their websites can find out more about the regulation at the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Hiring top-quality website designers in High Wycombe can also help, providing you with web pages that not only look great but comply with all the necessary legislation.

If you’re looking for help with web design in Marlow, or want to find out how Crisp can help you grow your digital revenue please contact us here or take our Digital Scorecard and find out how you can get better today.

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