Meta said it would take around three months, pending approval from EU regulators, to add the ability for users to choose on the social media interface whether to allow targeted ads based on their activity. The company’s proposal aims to end the ongoing dispute with the EU over the use of personal data for advertising purposes, in line with European data protection laws.
Currently, users of the meta platforms from the EU can object to such targeting. For those who opt out, the company still targets its ads to broader demographics, such as users’ general location and age range. Presumably, the new meta proposal will still allow general targeting, but details are not yet available.
Meta’s once-relentless revenue growth slowed over the past year due to the volatile economy and Apple’s additional option “Ask the app not to track” limits the amount of data that the meta-services can collect from third-party advertising applications. Rules that limit a company’s targeting based on user activity in its own apps could be another major blow to its main revenue stream.
Earlier this year, the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) fined Meta over $400 million for processing user data on Instagram and Facebook. Most recently, the DPC imposed a record-breaking European fine of $1.3 billion on Meta for transferring user data to the United States, which is a violation of citizens’ privacy under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Since then, the EU and US have agreed on a framework that allows tech companies to transfer and store user data in the US, provided they comply with the terms of the confidentiality agreement.
The launch of the company’s new short messaging app, Threads, has been delayed in Europe due to “Regulatory Uncertainty”. According to Meta, while the new app is GDPR compliant, it’s not clear if it also complies with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA requires large technology companies (“middlemen” or “gatekeepers”) not to prioritize their own products and services, and Threads’ requirement to have an Instagram account may violate this rule.
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