2023 started in a costly manner for Meta, with two fines totalling 390 million EUR. The fines mark the conclusion of two lengthy investigations into Meta by the Irish regulator, which had been criticized over delays in the process.
What came under scrutiny this time was the company’s practices related to users’ consent to personalized ads, forcing users to accept targeted ads.
The investigators revealed that over time, the platform stopped displaying a clear and straightforward yes/no consent option for users and simply introduced a consent clause in the terms and conditions. Users must be able to withdraw their consent at any time and Meta should not limit the service if users choose to exercise this right.
In December, the European Data Protection Board, which oversees data privacy regulations across the European Union, stated that Meta is not allowed to use contracts as a legal justification for using personal user data to create targeted ads, making the company’s advertising practices illegal. What this could mean for the data processor is that with less personalized ads, come less profits. Meta would still be allowed to ask users for consent to ads with a clear “yes/no” option, however.
The Irish privacy watchdog has given Meta 3 months to allign its advertising practices to the GDPR.
Written by: Briana Huști