Website owners in Germany risk a fine of up to €50,000 if they defy Thilo Weichert’s order to remove any Facebook Like buttons on their websites by the end of September.
The data protection official of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein said that the Like button is collecting the data of users and non-users alike and sending them back to the U.S.
“Facebook can trace every click on a website, how long I’m on it, what I’m interested in,” he said.
These data, according to Weichert, is used to create personalized profiles of each user’s web habits, possibly for marketing purposes — and doing so breaches the German and European data protection law.
To avoid such profiling, he offered two pieces of advice to Internet users: “keep their fingers from clicking on social plug-ins” and “(don’t) set up a Facebook account.”
Facebook denies Weichert’s accusations, insisting that its actions are well within the laws of Germany and European Union. The Palo Alto-based social network admits that it collects data such as IP addresses, but said these will be deleted within 90 days, within industry standards.