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Third-party cookies down by 22% on Europe's news sites since GDPR

22% decline of cookies on news sites. The number of third-party cookies on European news sites has dropped by 22% since the introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to an RISJ study published today.

The factsheet, Changes in Third-Party Content on European News Websites after GDPR, reveals significant shifts in the use of third-party content and cookies on over 200 news sites studied in April and July - before and after the introduction of GDPR - across seven EU countries: Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the UK. 

UK news sites, which had the most cookies per page in April, had 45% fewer by July; German news sites exhibited the smallest change with 6% fewer cookies in July than in April.

The percentage of news sites hosting third-party social media content, such as sharing buttons from Facebook or Twitter, dropped significantly from 84% in April to 77% in July.

US-based technology companies remain present on the highest number of news sites in the sample, Google (96%), Facebook (70%) and Amazon (57%). Of these, only Facebook has seen a significant drop in reach after GDPR, down 5 percentage points from 75% to 70%.

The report's authors are Tim Libert, Lucas Graves and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen.


The research was supported by Google as part of the Digital News Initiative.

Image: Isabel Macdonald