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French consumer watchdog sues Facebook, Twitter and Google

Story highlights

  • French consumer watchdog accuses social media giants of "abusive" and "illegal" practices
  • European nations have increasingly cracked down on Internet firms' privacy policies

France's top consumer watchdog filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Facebook, Twitter and Google, accusing them of breaching Internet users' privacy, in the latest crackdown against data-collection policies.

UFC-Que Choisir is suing the social media giants at the French High Court, alleging "abusive" and "illegal" practices and not heeding repeated warnings in June to modify what it called "inaccessible" and "illegible" user terms of conditions.

"Facing such negligence," the group is asking French judges to "order the suppression or modification of the myriad of litigious clauses imposed by these companies."

It accuses the social media networks of "continuing to allow the collection, modification, conservation and exploitation of user data and that of their entourage" including friends and followers.

"If the social media networks are particularly greedy in terms of data, they are dieting when it comes to responsibility," the group said in a statement.

Alexandra Neri, an attorney for Google and Twitter, said she could not comment on the lawsuit until receiving the formal summons and complaint, which can take up to a month. A representative for Facebook could not immediately be reached for comment.

    European nations, including France, have increasingly cracked down on the privacy policies of global Internet giants.