If you reside in the European Union (EU) and are active on any of Meta’s social media networks (Facebook, Instagram, and possibly Threads), you may find your platform asking for your consent to use any personal information for the targeted ads you see in your feed.
EU officials from the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) representing different nations within the bloc announced a region-wide ban on Wednesday, November 1st, in response to Meta’s perceived irresponsible handling of user data. As a result, blanket restrictions against the use of individuals’ information for targeted advertising may be finalized and implemented by the week ending November 10th.
These General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) require Meta to cite at least one of a number of specific laws or ordinances if it wishes to collect its users’ personal information for use in tailored advertising.
Non-compliance Comes at a Cost
Meta’s advertising operations within the EU have come under fire in recent months, as these have not been compliant with the region’s regulations for online privacy.
Interestingly, the announcement came as the Mark Zuckerberg-led company is slated to impose a new subscription model for European users who don’t want personalized ads on either Facebook or Instagram.
Prior to the EDPB announcement, Meta officials claimed that their data collection practices were compliant with an earlier iteration of the GDPR as both Facebook and Instagram users enter a contract with the company and need to comply with its data gathering policies once they agree to either platform’s terms of service. The company also said they had a legitimate reason for processing user information for corporate purposes.
However, just last July, the European High Court found no merit in either of Meta’s justifications, though it did recognize the company’s subscription model as an acceptable way of separating consenting users from those who refuse to share their personal information with the platforms.