Europe Crackdown on Big Tech Continues as Facebook, Google Fined Over Cookies in France

France’s data regulator has fined Facebook, Google and YouTube for failing to make refusing cookies as easy as it is to accept them, according to a ruling issued Thursday, (Jan. 7).

The country’s regulator, Commission Nationale Informatique & Libertés (CNIL), levied a fine against Google, owner of YouTube, totaling 150 million euros ($170 million), while Facebook was fined 60 million euros (close to $68 million).

The tech giants were ordered to comply within the cookie rules within 90 days or risk violation of the French Data Protection Act. Failure to do so will result in a penalty of 100,000 euros ($113,253) per day of delay.

In its decision, the CNIL said investigators found that the Facebook, and YouTube websites feature a button allowing users to instantly accept cookies, but do not provide an equivalent solution that enable users to easily refuse cookies.

“Several clicks are required to refuse all cookies, against a single one to accept them,” the report stated.

Read more: German Antitrust Watchdog Takes New Step To Regulate Google

CNIL said that this process impacts freedom of consent, adding that because internet users expect to quickly visit a website but cannot refuse the cookies as easily as they can accept, it influences their choice in favor of consent.

In addition to the fines, regulators ordered the companies to provide internet users in France with a way to reject cookies as easily as accepting them to guarantee their freedom of consent.

Read also: Big Tech Firms’ EU Woes Far From Over

These most recent decisions reflect a global compliance strategy initiated by the CNIL since 2020 as many popular websites have violated the legislation on cookies.

Since March of last year, the CNIL said it has implemented nearly 100 corrective measures related to non-compliance with the legislation on cookies.

PYMNTS has reported the CNIL is not alone in putting pressure on Big Tech to do a better job. The European Union is considering huge fines to force Facebook, Amazon and other tech giants of policing online ads and content.

Read more: EU To Big Tech: Police Content Or Pay Massive Fines

Giant tech companies including Amazon and Facebook could face fines of up to 6% of their revenue if they fail to monitor content and ensure greater transparency around online advertising, according to a draft of the new policy reviewed by the Financial Times.

Under the Digital Services Act proposal, major tech companies, defined as those with more than 45 million users, will be responsible for screening the credentials of vendors and other third-party suppliers who sell their products on Amazon. Big Tech also must have demonstrated to regulators how they plan to deal with illegal content, the paper notes.

Related: EU Competition Chief Urges Final Push To Pass Big Tech Rules

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s executive vice president of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said that the European Parliament and European Council must move quickly to approve legislation regulating Big Tech because it is best to get 80 percent now than 100 percent never.

“This is another way of saying that perfect should not be the enemy of very, very good,” Vestager was reported saying, noting that “another 20 years” won’t go by before the legislation is evaluated.

Monitoring Big Tech is not limited to Europe

Last month, Google Russia was fined 9 million roubles ($121,000) for its failure to delete banned content, the latest in a string of penalties that is part of a wider dispute between Russia and the U.S. tech giant.

Related news: Europe’s Battle to Curb Big Tech’s Power Continues With More Fines

Before that ruling, the firm was fined 2 million roubles ($28,085) and 3 million roubles ($40,400) in separate findings over the same issue, totaling more than 32 million roubles ($434,459) that the company has paid in total fines to date, according to PYMNTS, per Reuters.

Google is not alone, however. Russia has ramped up pressure on other foreign tech companies, and recently fined Facebook, Twitter and messaging app Telegram for failing to abide by requests from Russia’s internet regulator Roskomnadzor to delete content deemed illegal.