The Facebook Like button is an iconic symbol of what 21st-century life has become. We can use it to show the world that we like pretty much anything we see online. Your friend posts about something funny they’ve just done, Like it. A local bar is running a special on chicken wings during NFL matches, definitely Like that. Oh, it’s summertime and the sun is shining you say? Yep, I’m going to like that too.
The Facebook Like button and other alternatives from different social networks have become so ubiquitous that more often than naught, we tap them as soon as we feel anything remotely positive. In fact, there is a lot more going on with “Like” and “Share” buttons, a lot more. So much in fact, that they might be about to start disappearing from third-party websites.
This ruling might change everything
The reason we’ve slipped into the habit of liking everything we do online is because the like button and others of its ilk have popped on all sorts of websites all over the web. Now, however, thanks to a ruling in the ECJ on a case involving a website called Fashion ID, this might all be about to change.
In 2015, a German consumer group called Verbraucherzentrale NRW (we’ll just refer to them as NRW from now on) sought an injunction against a website called Fashion ID. Basically, NRW claimed that the Facebook Like button on the Fashion ID site was sending data to Facebook that users didn’t consent to share.
The ECJ has ruled that since the Like button provided a financial benefit to Fashion ID, it is responsible for the user data the button collects and shares.
The move means that when two parties, a social network and a third-party website, both benefit from a social button then both must share responsibility for the user-data collected. Both will need permission, and both will need to make sure their digital infrastructures are compliant with privacy laws and regulations.
With global GDPR changes still fresh in everybody’s minds due to Europe being a regulatory superpower, there is a good chance this judgement could affect websites all over the world and not just in the EU.
Do you think Facebook’s Like and Share buttons should be removed? Are they causing more trouble than they are worth? Let us know in the comments below!