A Belgian court on Friday ordered Facebook to stop tracking internet users in the country who do not have accounts with the United States social media giant, or face heavy fines.
A Belgium court has undermined Facebook with a fine of up to 100 million euros ($156 million) in the event that it kept on infringing upon security laws by following individuals on outsider sites.
Facebook said it would appeal against the ruling.
According to the court, besides tracking unregistered users who click "like" or "share" buttons on Facebook pages, even when they have no registered account, Facebook also tracks visitors of roughly 10,000 third-party websites via invisible pixels put on those sites. The court ruled the data was gathered illegally.
It said the court concluded that Facebook does not adequately inform users that it is collecting information, what kind of details it keeps and for how long, or what it does with the data. "Facebook has recently propelled an expansive battle where they push the significance of protection", it said.More news: Twitter finally pulls the plug on its official app for the Mac
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"This is a big win for internet users who don't want tech companies to monitor every step they make online", BEUC spokesman Johannes Kleis said in a statement.
Facebook said it will appeal against the verdict. We've built teams of people who focus on the protection of privacy - from engineers to designers - and tools that give people choice and control.
"It also does not gain our consent to collect and store all this information", it added in a statement.
It said the cookies and pixels it uses are "industry standard technologies", allowing hundreds of thousands of businesses to grow and reach customers across the bloc.
"The cookies and pixels we use are industry standard technologies, and enable hundreds of thousands of businesses to grow their businesses and reach customers across the European Union", said Richard Allan, the company's vice-president of public policy in Europe.