Cyber Daily: European Privacy Regulators Crack Down on Meta’s Targeted Ad Practices


By guest author James Rundle from the Wall Street Journal.

European regulators have dealt a blow to Meta Platforms Inc.’s advertising model, with an umbrella group of privacy watchdogs known as the European Data Protection Board saying the company shouldn’t require users to agree to personalized ads, The Wall Street Journal reports. The company, which operates Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, faces significant fines from the Irish Data Protection Commission, its European home regulator, if the EDPB’s decisions are upheld.

The EDPB said during a meeting Monday that Meta, which allows users to opt out of targeted ads based on data from third-party platforms, but not its own, contravenes elements of the General Data Protection Regulation. The strict law forbids companies from requiring that users turn over personal information in order to use services, except where providing that service requires it, such as an address for food-delivery apps.

Targeted advertising has emerged as a hotspot for privacy cops, and a costly area for companies such as Meta, which has been fined hundreds of millions of dollars by European authorities in recent months, and posted revenue losses due to other restrictions on the data it collects. Meta can appeal the EDPB’s decisions, which have yet to be made public, and subsequent actions from the Irish regulator.