Facebook Objects to English Internet Terms in Belgian Court Order

By Kelley Chittenden

A Belgian court order threatened Facebook with fines of up to €250,000 per day if the social network did not stop tracking Internet users without Facebook accounts. Research reveals Facebook tracks users that visit its page regardless of whether the user has an account or has opted out of tracking in the EU. The cookie placed on the user’s device allegedly allows Facebook to access information whenever the user visits Facebook pages or pages that include “like” or “share” links. Facebook claims the cookie protects user security, and the social network is appealing the order in part due to its inclusion of English words such as “cookie” and “web browser” to describe its tracking technology. Although Belgian law requires rulings be made in Dutch, French, or German, “web browser” in Dutch is “webbrowser,” and an Internet cookie is “cookie” in each language—Facebook appears to have a weak argument in this respect.