Watchdog sues social networks

The tribunal de grande instance

UFC-Que Choisir files suit in the Paris high court over the conditions of use on three major social networks

SOCIAL media networks Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are being sued for allegedly breaching French privacy laws.

UFC-Que Choisir said that it has filed a suit in the tribunal de grande instance in Paris over the conditions of use on the social networks, which it described as “unreadable and inaccessible” for French users.

In June 2013, the consumer watchdog sent a 100-page letter to each of the organisations, condemning what it saw as unfair terms, and giving the companies three weeks to make necessary changes.

But it said in a statement: “After months of talks and despite warnings, they are maintaining clauses that the association considers abusive or illegal.”

The organisation said terms of use for the social media networks were “inaccessible, unreadable and filled with hypertext links", some of which took users to pages available only in English.

Moreover, they do not provide internet users with “a procedure of acceptance of the contract for the use of services”, UFC-Que Choisir said.

These social networks offer "a standard contract for all nations of the world" without adaptations taking into account individual nation’s laws, UFC-Que Choisir’s lawyer Amal Taleb told Le Figaro.

In January, France’s data protection watchdog imposed a €150,000 fine - the maximum possible - on Google for failing to comply with privacy guidelines.

And, in February 2013, French personalities in the media, culture and arts called for more protection for personal data being used on the internet.
Photo: Christine Borden

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