Meta faced with EU ban on targeted advertising

Facebook and Instagram owner Meta could face fines of up to 4% of its global turnover for what the EU calls “behavioral advertising” practices.

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB), the EU’s data regulator, decided the ban “on the processing of personal data for behavioral advertising” will cover the entire European Economic Area (EEA).

EEA includes all the EU members, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

“On 27th October, the EDPB adopted an urgent binding decision […] to impose a ban on the processing of personal data for behavioral advertising on the legal bases of contract and legitimate interest across the entire European Economic Area (EEA),” the EDPB said.

The EDPB’s decision is an instruction to the Irish data protection authority to impose the EEA-wide ban, as Meta’s European operations are carried out from Ireland.

Norway’s data watchdogs were the first to lock horns with Meta, fining the US tech giant $90,000 every day since August 7th for the company’s breaching of user privacy, using their data – such as locations or browsing activity – for targeted ads.

However, Meta could face a far more significant fine, reaching up to 4% of the company’s global revenue, if it continues its practices. Last year, Meta Platforms’ revenue stood at $116 billion, putting the potential fine at $4.6 billion.

“It is high time for Meta to bring its processing into compliance and to stop unlawful processing,” EDPB Chair Anu Talus said.

Meanwhile, Meta is looking for a way out of the bind, saying that it will offer Europeans a paid version of Meta’s social media platforms to avoid their data being used for personalized advertising.

The price for using its social media platforms will be €9.99 per month if you buy a subscription on the web and €12.99 per month on iOS and Android. The price is different due to the fees imposed by Apple and Google.

Meta’s social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram, have more than 250 million active users in the EU and EEA, according to Norway’s Data Protection Authority.

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