Facebook to comply with Belgium’s ruling on cookies

Facebook says it has changed its practice for non-Facebook users accessing Facebook so that it will comply with the Belgian Tribunal of First Instance decision of 9 November. This means that anyone without a Facebook account in Belgium will now have to create an account to be able to log in to Facebook to view content.

The Tribunal’s decision stated that Facebook’s practice to put cookies on devices of non-Facebook registered users visiting Facebook violated Belgian data protection law. Its decision has wider implications as all of Facebook’s activities in Belgium were ruled to be subject to Belgian DP law, even if its establishment is in Ireland.

Facebook’s spokesman said: “We had hoped to address the [Belgian Privacy Commission’s] BPC's concerns in a way that allowed us to continue using a security cookie that protected Belgian people from more than 33,000 takeover attempts in the past month. We're disappointed we were unable to reach an agreement and now people will be required to log in or register for an account to see publicly available content on Facebook. We expect the BPC to apply these restrictions across the web, which could restrict Belgians' access to websites with maps, videos, share buttons, and similar content.”
Facebook has said it will appeal the decision.

See PL&B news stories on this case here and here.