Europe’s top court said on Monday, July 29th, that online retailers must inform web users that the “Like” button sends their personal data to Facebook, reported AFP.
The European Court of Justice ruling added that a site that embeds the Facebook “like” icon and link on its pages sends user data to Facebook.
"It seems that that transmission occurs without that visitor being aware of it and regardless of whether or not he or she is a member of the social network Facebook or has clicked on the 'Like' button," it said.
As per EU data protection law, the European retailer and the US platform stand responsible before the law for sending users’ data to Facebook’s Irish subsidiary.
The ruling obliges online retailers to inform users and ask their consent to have their data sent to Facebook, adding that the retailer is not responsible for what the giant social network does later with the data.
"As a result of this case, companies that embed this 'like' button on their website cannot hide behind Facebook any longer," said Monique Goyens, of the European Consumer Organisation.
"The decision therefore underlines the right for internet users to always get information on what data are collected and how they are used by websites," she said.
The EU court received the case from a German consumer protection agency against online clothes site Fashion ID that embeds a Facebook button as a marketing trick.
Bitkom, a German trade federation for online businesses criticised the ruling, saying it adds loads of expensive bureaucracy on firms without really protecting consumers.
"With its decision, the ECJ places enormous responsibility on thousands of website operators, from small travel blogs to online megastores and the portals of large publishers," Bitkom CEA Bernard Rohleder said.
He warned that the decision would go beyond Facebook and effect all social media plug ins, which are important for many firms to expand their reach on the web.