European Union (EU) regulators have found Meta’s use of targeted advertising on Facebook and Instagram illegal in the region and fined the two services a combined 390 million euros.
A sort of statement (opens in a new tab) The statement from the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) said the company had three months to change its advertising practices or face further action.
The DPC dismissed the notion that by signing up for Facebook and Instagram, users agree to receive personalized ads based on their data.
So, according to Max Schrems, chairman emeritus of privacy advocacy group Noyb, one of the core changes Facebook may make is to offer European users an “opt-in” to use data for advertising.
In the original ruling, the DPC agreed with Meta’s legal argument that user participation constituted a contract, but now claims it is bound by the EU’s European Data Protection Board (EDPB) advice.
This is a change of tune for the DPC, but it’s still mostly on Meta’s side. In the same statement, it claimed it was seeking a ruling against further pressure from the EDPB to force the commission to investigate all of Meta’s data processing practices on Facebook and Instagram.
Still, Schrems believes the planned opt-in will provide Meta and other tech giants operating in Europe with significant and transparent means of consent to collect European user data.
“This is a huge blow to Meta’s profits in the EU,” he claimed. “People now need to be asked if they want their data used for advertising. They must have a ‘yes or no’ option and can change their mind at any time. The decision also ensures a level playing field with other advertisers who also require opt-in consent environment.
However, this is unlikely to become an open case, with Meta saying it was “disappointed” with the decision, plans to appeal, and argues that it will not give users choices about how their data is used.
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