Facebook has been fined €150,000 by a European data protection watchdog for not protecting private information from advertisers.
The investigation, conducted by the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) originally in 2015, found that Facebook was in violation of the French Data Protection Act. It states:
In particular it has been observed that FACEBOOK proceeded to a massive compilation of personal data of Internet users in order to display targeted advertising. It has also been noticed that FACEBOOK collected data on browsing activity of internet users on third-party websites, via the “datr” cookie, without their knowledge.
Obviously €150,000 is not much money to Facebook, who posted a Q1 2017 revenue of $8.03 billion. In fact, that’s about 0.002-percent of its quarterly revenue gone — barely a bug bite.
Still, the company could face much greater fines in the future. A new law, passed in October 2016, allows CNIL to fine Facebook up to 3 million euros.
Facebook has argued that, since its European headquarters is in Dublin, it is subject to Irish data protection laws. The company told Reuters, “We take note of the CNIL’s decision with which we respectfully disagree.”