Google and Facebook are facing fines of tens of millions of euros for requiring users to click more often to remove their cookies than to accept them.
The French data protection authority Cnil said on Thursday.
Two Google subsidiaries have been hit with fines of 150 million euros (170 million dollars), while Facebook has to pay 60 million euros.
Cookies are small data blocks saved on a device when a user browses a website. They facilitate navigation through the website, but personal information may become available to advertisers when they are installed.
Cnil noted that cookies could be accepted with just one click on the google.fr, facebook.com and youtube.com websites, while several clicks were needed to remove them, this affected consent provisions under French law, it said.
The operators have three months to amend their practices, with an additional 100,000 euros imposed for each day of delay.
A spokeswoman for Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said the company would look into the ruling.
She noted that personal settings gave users greater control over their data and added that the settings would be improved.
Google said it was aware of its responsibilities and committed itself to changes.