European union regulators has found Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, engaging in activity that ‘illegally forced users to effectively accept personalised ads’.
The decision, including a fine of 390 million euros, has the potential to require Meta to make costly changes to its advertising-based business in the European Union, one of its largest markets.
The ruling is one of the most consequential judgments since the 27-nation bloc, home to roughly 450 million people, enacted a landmark data-privacy law aimed at restricting the ability of Facebook and other companies from collecting information about users without their prior consent. The law took effect in 2018.
The case hinges on how Meta receives legal permission from users to collect their data for personalised advertising. The company includes language in its terms of service agreement, the very lengthy statement that users must accept before accessing services like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, that effectively means users must allow their data to be used for personalised ads or stop using Meta’s social media services altogether.
Ireland’s data privacy board, which serves as Meta’s main regulator in the E.U. because the company’s European headquarters are in Dublin, said E.U. authorities determined that placing the legal consent within the terms of service essentially forced users to accept personalised ads, violating the European law known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or G.D.P.R.
CyberBeat is a grassroots initiative from a team of producers and subject matter experts, driven out of frustration at the lack of media coverage, responding to an urgent need to provide a clear, concise, informative and educational approach to the growing fields of Cybersecurity and Digital Privacy.
If you have a story of interest, a comment, a concern or if you'd just like to say Hi, please contact us
We couldn't do this without the support of our sponsors and contributors.