The European Union has reportedly warned Facebook that it could face sanctions over its “misleading” terms and conditions.
The E.U. commissioner in charge of consumer protection, Věra Jourová, has warned that she is losing patience with social media giant Facebook, the Guardian reports. Following two years of discussions relating to giving E.U. citizens better control over their personal data, the commissioner appears to be set to come down hard on the social media network.
Jourová told reporters recently: “I will not hide the fact that I am becoming rather impatient because we have been in dialogue with Facebook for almost two years. Progress is not enough for me, I want to see results.” Jourová stated that Facebook has been given until the end of the year to alter their terms of service. “Facebook will face sanctions from national authorities,” she said. “They will look into sanctions after the new year in case they do not see sufficient progress.”
The commissioner did not specify the size of a financial penalty and penalties relating to consumer law differ across the 28 E.U. member states. Given that Facebook is being criticized by the E.U. for a number of reasons ranging from their failure to protect user data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, to their failure to police content the EU considers “hate speech,” any repercussions would be expected to be severe.
Following the introduction of the GDPR in the E.U., which provided extra levels of security and data control for E.U. citizens, multiple tech firms were forced to change their terms of service, including Google, Facebook, Airbnb, and Twitter. As a result, E.U. consumers can pursue actions against these companies in national court rather than U.S. court.
Facebook updated its terms of service in May stating that they now included the “vast majority” of what E.U. regulators wanted. “Our terms are now much clearer on what is and what isn’t allowed on Facebook and on the options people have,” Facebook stated but said it would continue to work with regulators “to understand any further concerns and make appropriate updates.”