BRUSSELS — A Brussels court had ruled that Facebook must stop within 48 hours the collection of data on users’ Internet browsing when they are not logged in. If they didn’t stop, then Facebook would face a daily fine of $269,000.
Facebook has acknowledged that it collects data on users’ Internet browsing even when they aren’t logged in, through a cookie that it places within an user's Web browser if they have visited the Facebook website. That cookie reports back to Facebook whenever that browser accesses a Web page with an active social plug-in, such as a “like” button.
Facebook says the process is necessary for security purposes to protect people from spam, malware and other attacks. The firm says it uses the information from that cookie only to weed out browsers being piloted by a machine rather than a human, and discards the browsing data after 10 days. Machine-driven browsers are often used to hack into users’ Facebook pages, the company says.