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The European Union Court of Justice has ruled that owners of websites could face legal risk regarding the universal Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) like buttons. The court indicated that site owners will be liable for privacy breach for helping transmit data to Facebook without the consent of the user which is what happens when users visit sites with “Like button” regardless of whether they click it or not.

Reviewing how the ‘like button’ works to protect personal data

However this ruling does little to prevent Facebook as well as other companies that have such widgets from providing these options.  Nonetheless sites are required to get user’s consent before transmitting data to Facebook except when they show legit interest in doing the contrary. Currently user data is sent to Facebook in form of page loads even before users can opt out. Going forward sites will be required to revisit the approach of like buttons.

The new requirements result from a case involving Fashion ID a Germany fashion retailer that was accused of transmitting private data to Facebook. The court established that once Facebook obtained the data the retailer was no longer in control of the data but they are charged for their role in sending the data. Currently the ‘Like’ is embedded on Fashion ID’s website as a way of optimizing the publicity of its products by ensuring they get necessary publicity on Facebook.

Facebook welcomes the European union court ruling

While responding to the ruling Facebook’s general counsel Jack Gilbert indicated that the company welcomed the lucidity of the ruling.  He added that the social media company was reviewing the ruling and they will collaborate with partners to ensure they progressively gain from the likes and other plugins in line with the law. The company is expected to make changes regarding how the ‘like’ button operates.

Facebook has faced a series of privacy scandals and recently the US government fine the company $5 billion for its liability in [protecting user data. The ruling will not hinder the popularity of the ‘like’ button but at least it will check tracking.

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