THE SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook has been ordered to stop tracking web users without consent by a court in Belgium.
Using its tracking scripts, cookies, plugins, invisible pixels and Like buttons, Facebook collects information about everyone who uses its website, users and non-users alike.
Last week, a Belgian court ruled that it must stop tracking web users who have not given their consent for this behaviour or face fines of up to €250,000 per day for non-compliance.
"The court has comes to the conclusion that Facebook does not inform us enough about the fact that it collects information about us," said Anouk Devenyns, judge of the Brussels-based Court of First Instance, according to Belgian news site De Morgen.
"There's too much uncertainty about the nature of the information it collects, what happens to that information and how long the company stores that information."
Facebook has been told to delete all the data it had gathered on people who are not users of its services, with the court ruling that the data had been collected illegally.
The case was brought by watchdog the Belgian Privacy Commission in June 2015. At that time, the social media giant said it was confident in winning the case, calling the decision to take it to court "theatrical".
Facebook has said it is disappointed with the current verdict and will appeal.
"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 EU," said Richard Allan, the company's vice-president of public policy in Europe.
The latest ruling against Facebook for its treatment of personal data comes after a German court found that the firm's opted-in privacy terms and conditions were insufficiently clear. The Berlin court also ruled that Facebook's 'real names' policy is illegal and demanded changes in the way that German citizens' personal data is handled.
In September, Spain's data protection watchdog fined Facebook €1.2m for breaching laws designed to protect personal data, and in December 2016, the European Union fined Facebook €110m for providing misleading information on data sharing prior to being granted permission to buy WhatsApp in 2014. µ
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