Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) could once again find itself in hot water with regulators, this time due to new privacy regulations in Europe.
As CNBC reports, privacy activist Max Schrems has filed a massive lawsuit against the social media giant and its Silicon Valley colleagues, alleging widespread violations of the just-enacted rules:
The Austrian lawyer’s non-profit organization NOYB filed complaints against Google, Facebook and Facebook-owned services WhatsApp and Instagram on Friday. The complaints could result in penalties worth up to 7 billion euros ($8.1 billion).
Schrems alleged that the companies “forced consent” from users to obtain the right to use their data and comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
According to GDPR rules, companies must get explicit consent from customers in order to use their data. It also demands that firms hand over any data they have on people when requested, and that the data be permanently deleted if the user chooses.
“Facebook has even blocked accounts of users who have not given consent,” Schrems contended. “In the end, users only had the choice to delete the account or hit the ‘agree’ button — that’s not a free choice, it more reminds (me) of a North Korean election process.”
Facebook Inc shares closed at $184.92 on Friday, down $1.01 (-0.54%). Year-to-date, FB has gained 4.79%, versus a 2.39% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.