Seven Internet sites for institutions upon which Flemish authorities depend are using Facebook’s spy pixel. The tool was made available by the American social network, which enables monitoring of visitors to a web page, and thereafter to redirect adverts to them.
The point emerges from a response of the Flemish Minister for Local Government, Liesbeth Homans (N-VA) to an question from the deputy Katia Segers (sp.a), reported on Wednesday by the daily newspaper De Standaard.
According to the minister, the websites of Sport Vlaanderen, Toerisme Vlaanderen, Toegankelijk Vlaanderen, het Vlaams Centrum voor Agro- en Visserijmarketing, De Lijn, De Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij and Kind en Gezin are resorting to the pixel analysis tool. Toerisme Vlaanderen has objected to the use of this function, and De Standaard has not found any indication of it on Toerisme Vlaanderen’s site.
That having been said, the daily publication has not only found the Facebook pixel on the site of Kind en Gezin site, but also four other so-called ‘trackers’ made available by the American giant. No mention of these tools features within the Website Privacy Statement, contrary to the rules in this particular sphere. The public transport company De Lijn makes no mention of resorting to such tools on its website.
Mrs Segers says, the use of the spy pixel Facebook by the sites for outlets of the authorities is “unacceptable”. She criticizes, “The Flemish government is facilitating a practice which has already been sanctioned by a court of law as a violation privacy laws.”
The elected Socialist however acknowledges that her own party has used the Facebook pixel on its official site. She claims that she has indicated as such on several occasions, and indicates that an alternative is currently being sought. She concludes, “The political parties must set an example, but no doubt the same applies for the authorities.”