WHETHER YOU 'LIKE' IT OR NOT, the EU has declared that websites using the Facebook Like button need to get the consent of their visitors before the plugin can suck up data and pipe it back to the social network.
The ruling comes courtesy of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) after a German consumer group sued Fashion ID, a retailer that was claimed to have breached persona data protection rules through the use of Like buttons on its website.
The CJEU was approached to advise upon the situation and it came to the conclusion that websites opting to use the Like button must share liability for data collection alongside Facebook.
"The operator of a website that features a Facebook 'Like' button can be a controller jointly with Facebook in respect of the collection and transmission to Facebook of the personal data of visitors to its website," the CJEU said.
But this consent will only apply to the collection and transmission of the data websites won't be held responsible for what Facebook then does with the data it gets its hands on.
Facebook's response to this was classically nonchalant, with an air of 'oh, we'll give that a gander'.
"We are carefully reviewing the court's decision and 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," Jack Gilbert, Facebook's associate general counsel, told Reuters in a statement.
For the privacy-conscious this might be a boon, for others it could result in more annoying pop-ups to quickly click through in order to visit sites like dogslookingguilty.com and then insufferably share inks on all manner of social networks and comms tools.
We doubt 'Like' buttons will go away, but we can predict that they'll probably get more rigorously policed, especially by those with a stonk-on for privacy. µ
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