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The Social Media category on your Cookie Banner

Want to know how to add Social Media as a category? Read this article

Since 2018, the year of the GDPR, one of the most asked questions with regards to configuring a cookie banner is:

“I want to have Social Media as a category on my banner, but why do most cookie banners only mention purposes such as Functional (sometimes known as technical and essential), Preferences, Statistics, and Marketing/Tracking?”

The main reason why professional Consent Management Platforms do not offer that category on their banner is that this would not be compliant with most privacy laws. It is just a matter of time until a data protection authority or a group like NOYB will take action against websites that are using “Social Media” as a category.

What is Social Media?

How should a visitor interpret the use of “Social Media” on a cookie banner, and do they know what this might entail? You might embed an Instagram video, or use a Facebook Pixel for remarketing purposes, which is not visible. You might use WhatsApp Business without tracking or embedding a Twitter feed.

You can of course ask visitors if they want to use certain functionality on your website (e.g. social media, spam protection, a smooth browsing experience, video content etc) but if you would add that question on the cookie banner as a separate category you’re still missing consent for the additional purposes.

Social Media is not a Purpose

Before consent, you need to inform your visitor that consenting to the proposed functionality they also give their consent to the additional purposes (such as Marketing, Tracking or Statistics) for which their personal data will be used by that group of (third party) services.

What does this mean?

If you take the example of Facebook Pixel:

You’re dealing with a Social Media service that uses personal data for Marketing & Tracking purposes. In this case, you need consent for Marketing/Tracking, not just for the functionality of “Social Media”.

In the rare case that a social media service would not store or read (personal) information from the visitor’s browser or device for a marketing/tracking or statistics purpose, it is not necessary to ask for consent at all, because of an exception in the ePrivacy Directive for essential or functional cookies.

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