Meta dealt blow by EU ruling that could result in ‘opt-in’ data access

The business model of Mark Zuckerberg’s meta empire has suffered a blow following a ruling that the legal justification for targeting users with personalized ads broke EU data laws.

Campaigners said the move could force the owner of Facebook and Instagram to “opt in” users to have their data used for targeted ads.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has fined Meta a total of €390m (£343m), after the EU data authority rejected the company’s argument that users could opt out of receiving ads based on their personal data. agree to when they make a “contract” with him. social media platforms through the terms and conditions they sign.

A core part of the Facebook and Instagram business models is compiling profiles from users’ online activity, which enables advertisers to target people based on details such as their hobbies, consumer behavior and location.

The DPC initially supported Meta’s legal argument that the “contract” approach does not violate the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but said on Wednesday it needed binding recommendations from the bloc’s European Data Protection Board. had to comply, including with all EU privacy regulators.

However, the DPC, which has regulatory power over Meta because the company’s EU base is in Dublin, said it was seeking a court ruling against another EDPB demand that it take over all data processing operations of Facebook and Instagram. Check it out

Privacy campaign group Noob, which made the decision after filing a complaint against Meta, said the result was a “huge” financial blow for the company, which is set to account for 98% of its $118bn (£98bn) turnover in 2021. depended on advertising. Schrems, honorary chairman of Max Noob, said Facebook and Instagram users in the European Union will now need to ask if they want their data to be used for ads.

“This is a major blow to Meta’s profits in the EU,” he said. “People now need to be asked whether they want their data to be used for advertisements or not. They should have the option of ‘yes or no’ and can change their mind at any time. The decision ensures a level playing field with other advertisers who are also required to obtain opt-in consent.

The DPC has given Meta three months to bring its data processing operations into compliance with the judgment, which fined Facebook €210m for GDPR violations and Instagram €180m. It did not provide details on how Meta should comply with the decision.

Meta said in a statement that it would appeal against the decision and that it was “wrong” that after the DPC announcement personalized ads could not be served without users’ consent.

“These decisions do not prevent targeted or personalized advertising on our platform,” Meta said. “The decisions relate only to the legal basis that Meta uses when serving certain ads. Advertisers can continue to use our platform to reach potential customers, grow their businesses and create new markets.”

Meta’s advertising-based business model is already under pressure after Apple introduced a privacy change that would require app developers to seek user permission to track their online activity in order to serve personalized ads.

The company’s shares plummeted last October after a dire earnings report in which it flagged an advertising slump. It is also struggling to convince investors about its multibillion-dollar investment in the metaverse, a concept where the physical and digital worlds connect through virtual and augmented reality.

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