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As a bit of a background, we create a website where a "third party" can organize a sport event, letting us handle enrollment and other checks.

Well on our website ever since we implemented a cookie "wall" we have been getting more and more requests and complains. What I discover is that most people put "marketing" cookies off, yet those same people then complain that the facebook like button is gone.

This has gone so far that people are actively stop using our services in favour of others.

So can one show a social media wall, yet prevent the cookies from social media? Or is it just accepted to deliberately not follow the laws?

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Going against the law is not an option: first it might make you loose more visitors (i.e. those who count on you to respect their privacy). Second, GDPR fines calculated as percentage of your global sales, might wipe out your profits.

Fortunately there is a proven solution for your problem: the two-step like-button. When the user goes on the page, the social media button is not activated. Instead, the user sees a grayed proxy. Social media can not track your users yet. But when the user wants to like or share a post, he/she first clicks to activate the social media button : they then get a regular social media button that tracks them and that they can click to like.

You can find more about such privacy enabling approaches in this article.

In Germany, this technique is used since a very long time and users are very accustomed to. In the beginning, the website editors explained why they did it and what the benefit was for the users. After the initial surprise, very quickly users start to like it and even expect it. Of course, in your privacy policy you must explain to the user how it protects their privacy.

You also can decide to keep social media button and tracking as it is. You then have to update your privacy policy to be transparent about this and compliant with the regulations. But over time, more privacy-aware users might go elsewhere.

In conclusion, the best way to stay in business is still to remain compliant with the laws and respect your users and their expectations ;-)

It goes without saying: I address here only the aspects from a technical ciewpoint. For the legal aspect on your privacy policy or compliance m, you’ll have to consult a lawyer or a qualified legal advisor in your jurisdiction.

  • @user253751 Thanks for pointing it out ! i didn’t notice it on my small phone screen. Corrected! – Christophe Jan 14 at 16:48
  • Well it's not so much the end-users that are bringing the problem: it's the direct customers. The people who wish to use our service to handle their events complain that social media buttons are hidden; and show competitors that don't do this. – paul23 Jan 15 at 5:32
  • @paul23 your question’s phrasing lead me to think that you worried about the people who opt out and complain because they do no longer get the FB button. Now that advertisers are unhappy because they track less people, that’s another story. And the law applies to them as well. Maybe you can offer them an alternative legal product, like some anonymous statistics about the untracked visits? But here, we’reentering legal and market considerations that are far beyond the scope of this site – Christophe Jan 15 at 8:13

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