Court of Justice of the European Union: Facebook and administrators of pages on Facebook are joint controllers

In its recent decision, the Court of Justice of the European Union has concluded that the administrator of a Facebook Page is jointly responsible with Facebook for the data processing of people visiting the page.

This entails that the company or public body acting as administrator of the fan page and Facebook are to be regarded as joint controllers and jointly responsible for the processing of personal data of persons visiting the fan page and for determining in a transparent manner their respective responsibilities for compliance with the obligations under the applicable data protection laws.

The argument behind the decision is is that the administrator takes part in the determination of the purposes and means of processing of the personal data of the visitors on the page, for example, when the administrator determines and allows the social media platform to collect information which is attributable to an identifiable natural person by the social media platform.

“Many organisations use social media platforms in their external communication with customers. By clarifying the roles held by the parties involved, the decision provides useful guidance as to the relevant obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation the organisations must observe when they use social media.” says Niels Dahl-Nielsen.

The judgement states which countries data protection authorities, that are competent to make dicisions regarding compliance with privacy laws, when data processing takes place in the individual countries.

It must be stated that the judgement has been sentenced on the basis of an interpretation of the Personal Data Directive and not the GDPR. However, it must be assumed that a judgement sentenced on the basis of an interpretation of the GDPR, regarding the same issue, will turn out similar.

The judgement is available here.

For more information, please contact Niels Dahl-Nielsen at niels.dahl-nielsen@synchlaw.dk. +45 4030 9749.

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