A judge has ordered a grandmother to delete all of the photos of her grandchildren off of her Facebook and Pinterest accounts — and it wasn’t simply because she was over-sharenting. It had to do with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and a family squabble.
The court case took place in the Netherlands back in May 2020. It arose when the grandmother’s estranged daughter saw photos of her children on her mother’s social media accounts. She asked for the pictures to be removed several times, and depending on the account the grandmother either refused or didn’t respond to the request.
The case went to court, and the judge ruled that under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation, the grandmother must comply or face a hefty fine.
GDPR is the European Union’s data privacy law. It came about in 2018, which is when you may have noticed messages popping up at the bottom of websites letting you know that by visiting the site you could be cookied. (Parentology features one at the bottom of this website.)
As CNN explains, GDPR gives people “more control over their personal data and forces companies to make sure the way they collect, process and store data is safe.The EU’s intention was to achieve a fundamental change in the way companies use data — with its central idea being that people are entitled ‘privacy by default.'”
According to the BBC, the GDPR does not normally apply to the “purely personal” or “household” processing of data. Likewise, if the grandmother had set up her privacy settings on those sites so that only her immediate contacts could see the images, she may have been fine. However, in this case, that exemption did not apply because posting the photographs on Facebook and Pinterest without any restrictions made those images available to a wider audience.
“With Facebook, it cannot be ruled out that placed photos may be distributed and may end up in the hands of third parties,” the ruling said.
The woman must now pay a fine of €50 (£45 or approximately $54) per day, for every day that she doesn’t comply with the court’s order. She could end up paying a maximum of $1,000 if she refuses.