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GDPR Impact Makes Google And Facebook Face Over $9 bn in Fines

GDPR, designed to give individuals in the European Union (EU) more rights to control their personal information, came into effect on Friday

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Google
Google's new Search feature gives single result to certain queries. Pixabay

Withing hours of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect on Friday, technology giants Google and Facebook have been hit with privacy complaints that could carry fines of up to $9.3 billion in total, a media report said.

With regard to privacy, Google, Facebook and Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram are forcing people to adopt a “take it or leave it” approach which essentially amounts to demanding that users submit to intrusive terms of service, according to the the Austrian privacy-advocacy group Noyb.eu, CNET reported on Friday.

“Tonnes of ‘consent boxes’ popped up online or in applications, often combined with a threat, that the service can no longer be used if user (s) do not consent,” the group was quoted as saying in a statement.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The group is asking regulators in France, Belgium, Germany and Austria to fine the companies up to the maximum four per cent of their annual revenue that the GDPR legislation allows.

This could potentially add up to a $4.88 billion fine for Google parent company Alphabet and $1.63 billion for each of Facebook, and its Instagram and WhatsApp services, if European regulators agree with Noyb.eu and decide to fine the companies the full amount, the CNET report said.

GDPR, designed to give individuals in the European Union (EU) more rights to control their personal information, came into effect on Friday.

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Seen as a measure to by European leaders to control the powers of technology companies, GDPR violations can cost companies either 20 million Euros or four per cent of annual turnover.

As a result of the regulation, several US news outlets blocked Europeans on Friday, the report said. (IANS)

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Facebook Bans Conservative News Outlet from Buying Ads on Its Platform for Violating Its Policies

Over the past year, we removed accounts associated with The Epoch Times for violating our ad policies

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Facebook, Conservative, News
The Epoch Times spent $2 million on Facebook ads supporting Trump and conspiracy theories about his political enemies, The NBC News reported on Friday. Pixabay

Facebook has banned conservative news outlet and US President Donald Trump supporter The Epoch Times from buying ads on its platform for violating its policies.

The Epoch Times spent $2 million on Facebook ads supporting Trump and conspiracy theories about his political enemies, The NBC News reported on Friday.

“Over the past year, we removed accounts associated with The Epoch Times for violating our ad policies, including trying to get around our review systems. We acted on additional accounts today and they are no longer able to advertise with us,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

The Epoch Times pushed ads under names such as “Honest Paper” and “Pure American Journalism”, bypassing Facebook’s political advertising transparency rules.

Facebook, Conservative, News
Facebook has banned conservative news outlet and US President Donald Trump supporter The Epoch Times from buying ads on its platform for violating its policies. Pixabay

A recent NBC News probe revealed how The Epoch Times had evolved from a non-profit newspaper “into a conservative online news behemoth that embraced President Donald Trump and conspiracy content”.

Since 2016, The Epoch Times’ revenue more than doubled, and the reach of its online content zoomed past that of every other news organisation, attracting billions of views across its platforms.

The news outlet spent $1.5 million on more than 11,000 Trump-friendly Facebook ads within the last year.

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Journalist Judd Legum spotted for the first time how several ads from The Epoch Times were in violation of Facebook’s policies. (IANS)