Facebook, Google Lose $226 Million as Punishment Over Cookie Tracking: How to Stop FB, Google From Spying on You

Facebook, Google Lose $226 Million as Punishment Over Cookie Tracking: How to Stop FB, Google From Spying on You
French regulators are defending user rights by charging Google and Facebook a combined $226 million fine for cunning data collection strategies. Photo : David Paul Morris/Getty Images

French regulators are defending user rights by charging Google and Facebook a combined $226 million fine for cunning data collection strategies.

Users who do not want these tech giants monitoring their web activities are advised to turn off cookie trackers.

Google, Facebook Get $226 Million Fine

According to NBC News, French regulators noticed that Google and Facebook made it hard for users to reject cookies. This might be a strategy to discourage users from declining the web tracker.

To emphasize, most services in Google and Facebook require users to click "Accept All Cookies" to load properly. In contrast, users have spend several clicks on individual buttons to refuse all cookies.

Cookies are the snippets of code that track and store users' website activity. These are often used by the platform or third-party websites to discover someone's interests and personalize ads that pop out of the internet.

French regulators emphasized that cookie consent should be easy to opt-out. They fined Google $170 million and Facebook $68 million for exploiting this loophole. The French watchdog also threatened the tech giants with over $113,000 (€100,000) daily fines if they do not resolve the issue within three months.

Facebook parent company Meta said it is committed to improving its systems. Google responded the same way.

However, until the issue is fully resolved, users are advised to be responsible for their web browsing activity. Fortunately, users can manually turn off the cookie tracking systems in Facebook and Google.

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How to Turn Off Facebook Tracking

According to PCmag, Facebook has a few online tools that track user activity. These tools could also be used to tighten an account's privacy.

Facebook uses an online tool called Off-Facebook Activity to record all the websites that have access to user information. Be warned that the list is segregated per website, so checking all of them can be tedious. To turn off this tracker:

  • Log in on Facebook
  • Open "Settings"
  • Select "Your Facebook Information"
  • Select "Off-Facebook Activity"
  • This should display all the websites that use cookies. Click on "Manage Future Activity" and toggle off
  • Users can also turn off the "Future Off-Facebook Activity" to reduce the cookie prompts
  • Click on "Clear History" to delete all the user data previously recorded

How to Turn Off Google Tracking

Similar to Facebook, Google browsers exploit these cookies to track user data. Fortunately, there are ways to disable Google tracking.

According to an earlier article, users can prevent Google by doing these steps:

  • Log in to Google Account
  • Click on the upper right corner of the screen and select "Manage Your Google Account"
  • Select "Privacy & Personalization"
  • Select "Things You've Done and Places You've Been"
  • Open the "History" settings bar and select the "Web & App Activity" and toggle off
  • If a pop-up window opens, select "Pause"
  • Complete the process by clicking "Got It"

Users who do not want their web activities tracked should apply these changes as soon as possible. Hopefully, Google and Facebook will provide new system improvements soon.

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