Photo: Afghan National Police
Facebook and Instagram are no longer allowed to show ads in the Netherlands and other European countries based on users’ online behavior. These personalized ads are against European privacy rules. This is determined by the European organization of privacy watchdogs, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB).
The European subsidiary of Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is based in Ireland. The EDPB has instructed that country’s regulator to take necessary measures within two weeks to ensure social media adheres to the ban.
The ban applies to the entire European Economic Area. This includes the 27 EU member states, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Switzerland and the United Kingdom are not among them.
In August, Meta imposed a fine of one million kroner per day, equivalent to approximately 85,000 euros, for collecting data from Norwegian users of personal ads. Norway subsequently initiated a European ban. This request has been accepted by the Dutch Data Protection Authority and other supervisory authorities.
Facebook and Instagram collect all kinds of data about their users, such as place of residence, age, education, and hobbies. Platforms also look at what type of messages people are looking at. This way sites know exactly what people are interested in. They can display highly targeted ads and advertisers are willing to pay a lot of money for that. But Meta does not have a “valid legal basis” to process all that personal data, regulators say.
Meta announced Monday that it is working on subscription versions of Facebook and Instagram. For around €10 per month, users won’t see any ads. This will be available from November. In August, the company announced that it would ask European users for permission to place personalized ads. “The regulators have been aware of this plan for weeks and we have been in contact with them to achieve a good outcome for all parties. This development unjustifiably ignores that rigorous and robust process,” the company told Reuters.
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