This grandma is being forced to delete Facebook photos of her grandkids

Cheryl Sanders
May 25, 2020

No this is not a satirical article - this really happened.

A court in Holland ruled earlier this month that a grandmother must take down all of the pictures of her grandchildren she posted on Facebook and Pinterest after her daughter and mother of the children filed a complaint under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

While sanctions in the two cases wouldn't be the first under the new GDPR rules, they will be the first to test the cooperation between all 27 European Union data authorities. After a fallout with her daughter about it, the whole thing ended up in court. The DPC looked at whether the social media giant handled the breach correctly, how prompt it was reported it to the authorities, and record keeping around the breach.


The two found themselves in court after the woman said she repeatedly her mother remove the photos of her children, ages 5, 6, and 14.

The GDPR does not apply to the "purely personal" or "household" processing of data. In other words, a family quarrel over Facebook photos shouldn't be enough to have the court decide on their removal. However, that exemption did not apply because posting photographs on social media made them available to a wider audience, the ruling stated.

The grandmother must remove the pictures of her grandchildren from Facebook and Pinterest within ten days, the judge ruled. If she then goes back and posts any more photos of the children, she will be fined again-an extra €50 (~$55) per day, again up to €1,000 (~$1,095), until those new photos are taken down.


"I think the ruling will surprise a lot of people who probably don't think too much before they tweet or post photos", said Neil Brown, a technology lawyer at Decoded Legal.

Yes, there are cases where people will have things posted online about themselves that they'd rather are not there.

Grandma has been told there's a €50 (£45) fine to pay for each day that passes while the photos remain viewable, which could rollover up to a maximum of €1,000 (£900). Better safe than sorry.


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