For their cookie use, French officials penalised Google and Facebook a total of 210 million euros (£175 million).
Both sites, according to the CNIL, make it impossible for internet users to opt-out of web trackers.
Consent for cookie use is a high priority for the CNIL, as it is required by the EU’s data privacy regulation.
The social media corporations have three months to comply or face a fine of 100,000 euros per day they are late.
Cookies are little data packets that enable web browsers to save the information and, for example, offer targeted adverts.
While the IT giants provided a virtual button to allow fast acceptance of cookies, the Commission Nationale Informatique et Libertés claimed in a statement that there was no counterpart to simply decline them.
Cookies are incredibly important to Google and Facebook as a tool for personalising advertising, which is their primary source of revenue.
Since the EU passed a law protecting personal data in 2018, internet companies have been subjected to stricter restrictions requiring them to get users’ explicit consent before storing cookies on their devices.
This isn’t the first time that Google, which is owned by Alphabet, has been fined for violating European legislation. It was also the subject of the previous record fine of 100 million euros imposed by the CNIL in 2020.
At the time, it was the most serious warning the French data protection agency had ever issued regarding ad-tracking cookies.
For breaking the laws, Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, was fined 35 million euros.
In 2020, the CNIL strengthened ad tracker consent rights by mandating websites operating in France to keep a six-month database of internet users’ refusal to accept cookies.
It went on to say that internet users should be able to simply revoke any initial cookie agreement by clicking on a link or an icon on all website pages.