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Meta reportedly plans to change EU advertising regulations

Meta reportedly plans to change EU advertising regulations

Due to new regulations, Meta appears to be preparing to make significant adjustments to its advertising strategy in the European Union.

According to a Thursday Wall Street Journal article, Meta may only provide European users the option to forego targeted ads on its platforms in favor of more broad categories like age and location by completing an online form.

A January decision by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), who penalised Facebook and Instagram €210 million and €180 million, respectively, for processing personal data in a manner that violated EU legislation, would lead to the significant shift.

The internet company’s previous legal defense for utilizing user data for advertising was rejected by Irish authorities. It was predicated on the contract model, which holds that customers consent by using the service. By April, the business must have a new strategy in place.

In response to the ruling, Meta announced in a blog post on Thursday, March 30, that beginning of April 5, it will begin claiming “legitimate interest” as its legal justification for advertising. This is one of the requirements set forth by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for organizations processing personal data.

new legal basis

The processing must take place during a client relationship and without the user’s express agreement in order to further the service provider’s legitimate interests, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the user’s interests or fundamental rights and freedoms.

The Italian Data Protection Authority had already rejected TikTok’s use of the basis for the delivery of tailored adverts in a case from 2022. This prevented IT firms from employing this defense.

The GDPR was not violated by Meta’s prior strategy, and they further stated that they will contest “both the content of the verdicts and the fines.”

The digital rights organization NOYB, which brought the lawsuit that resulted in the legal foundation of the “contract” being declared unconstitutional, claims that the new strategy isn’t any better than the prior one.

The group lead by well-known activist Max Schrems has declared it will pursue legal action against the legitimate interest model once more following complaints it filed against Meta in 2018 that resulted in the DPC’s ruling in this instance.

When one illegal conduct is substituted by another, this is known as meta. As said by Schrems, the NOYB will immediately file a lawsuit to put a halt to this behavior.

This legitimate interest method at least gives users the chance to opt out, which is a little better, but like any other business, Meta has to give customers a straightforward yes/no choice, and if they want to give up their basic rights, they have to deliberately choose to do so.

Political advertising

The change to the legal foundation appears to be a part of a more comprehensive reconsideration of how Meta manages its advertising business in Europe.

In the words of the Financial Times, the company is considering making it illegal to promote political candidates in Europe because it is concerned that platforms won’t adhere to Brussels’ proposed regulation on political advertising, which would impose stricter regulations on them, particularly with regard to sponsor transparency.

As said in the reports, Meta is considering outlawing political advertisements throughout all of Europe in reaction to the EU’s draft regulation, which is currently being discussed and had a political trilogue on Thursday (30 March).

A ban on this type of content in Europe would be the easier option, especially given it doesn’t make up a significant portion of overall revenue, since the company is concerned that the proposal’s definition of political ads is so broad that it would be very difficult to follow.

The ultimate choice may depend on how the EU law defining political advertising plays out because Meta’s management is known to have differing views on the matter.

By the time the report was published, Meta had not reacted to EURACTIV’s request for comment.

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About MahKa

MahKa loves exploring the decentralized world. She writes about NFTs, the metaverse, Web3 and similar topics.

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