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EU challenges Meta to a duel over targeted advertising

When signing up for Facebook and Instagram, users are forced to agree to Meta’s privacy policy. This allows the company to deliver targeted ads, but not for much longer.

On Monday, EU privacy regulators ruled that users of Meta’s platforms should no longer accept this type of advertising, sources from Reuters and the Wall Street Journal to reveal.

The regulators stated that this kind of coerced consent violates the General Data Protection Regulation (AVG), the far-reaching privacy law of the EU.

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However, this doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. The Irish Data Protection Commission has yet to issue specific orders and make a decision on the fine in question. In addition, Meta has the option to appeal against the ruling.

If enforced, it would mean that Meta – and, more broadly, large tech companies that make a profit through the advertising business model – would require user consent before using personal information and online activity to create tailored ads.

And here’s the tipping point: Meta should still be offering its social networks to people whether they agree to be targeted or not. This could not only mean serious financial hurdles for Meta and similar companies, but also disrupt the very foundation upon which many online businesses are built.

Remember the hit Meta suffered when Apple released a privacy function that companies stopped tracking users in apps. This is expected to cost Meta $10 billion in 2022 alone.

This ruling from the EU could hit the company even harder, but of course nothing is set in stone yet.

Nevertheless, the EU ruling shows that the 27-member bloc is ramping up GDPR enforcement.

The requirements of the regulation for “obtaining explicit consent and giving individuals control over their personal data’ aim to ‘improve privacy in the EU’, Sam McCraw, founder and CEO of Design Hubtold TNW.

Individuals should have “greater control over how their personal data is used,” he added, which is vital due to the sensitive nature of such information.

Following massive fines on Amazon and WhatsApp over online privacy concerns, this blow to Meta is yet another step towards stronger data protection practices across the bloc. Now we just have to wait and see what happens next.

Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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