Facebook has long dealt with stricter penalties and a more suspicious public in Europe than in the rest of the world. It seems as though people there are far more concerned about their privacy than we are here in the United States. Facebook learned that lesson again this week when it got slapped with a 150,000 euro fine for failing to prevent its users’ data from being accessed by advertisers.
The fine was imposed by French watchdog group CNIL, which gave Facebook a deadline last year to stop tracking user activity across the web. It also demanded that Facebook stop sending some user data to the U.S. However, the group clearly felt Facebook did not comply, and hit it with the maximum fine allowed.
The group also accused Facebook of gathering user data “without having a legal basis” and doing so without “obtaining explicit consent.” For its part, Facebook said it disagrees with the ruling, and that it has recently taken steps to help people improve their own privacy.
“At Facebook, putting people in control of their privacy is at the heart of everything we do. Over recent years, we’ve simplified our policies further to help people understand how we use information to make Facebook better,” the site said in a statement.
It’s unclear what the next steps are for Facebook, but for now this is a major privacy win for European users.