The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has prohibited Meta from using the personal information of European citizens collected through Facebook and Instagram to show them ads based on their behavior. The regulator has given Meta two weeks to indefinitely stop this practice, which forms the core of the social media corporation’s business.
The veto has been brewing since December 2022. Then the EDPB declared illegal the legal method that Meta used to force users to consent to the extraction of their personal data. This was based on the fact that by accepting their terms and conditions and being a member of Instagram or Facebook, the company was given free rein to collect all types of information about your activity on both platforms.
“Meta has not demonstrated compliance with the orders imposed at the end of last year. It is time for Meta to bring its processing into compliance and put an end to illegal data processing,” the president of the European privacy regulator, Anu Talus, said in a statement.
The decision forces Meta to stop segmented advertising, which allows advertisers to impact their users with ads for products or services in which they have already shown interest or affinity. Facebook and Instagram would thus have to move on to contextual advertising, based on the content alongside which the ads are displayed and the inference of what the audience that consumes them is like: the same method as traditional television, radio or press advertising. written.
The company had been warning its investors for some time that such a measure could force it to withdraw its social networks from the continent. However, in recent months Meta has accelerated the development of a paid version of Facebook and Instagram as a solution to this situation. Its objective is to offer it in parallel to the traditional versions and justify to privacy regulators that the company does not force anyone to be profiled to use its services, since there is also the option of using paid Facebook or Instagram, which does not would entail this data extraction.
Meta has already communicated these plans to the EDPB, with prices starting from 10 euros per month in exchange for a subscription to use Facebook or Instagram in the web version. In the mobile version, the price amounts to 13 euros. If you want to use both networks, the cost would be 16 euros per month. The privacy regulator is analyzing the details of this strategy, the EDPB confirms in its statement.
This was recalled by the corporation in a statement sent to elDiario.es. “Meta has already announced that it will give EU and European Economic Area citizens the opportunity to give their consent and, in November, will offer a subscription model to meet regulatory requirements. EDPB members have known about this plan for weeks and we were already fully engaged with them to reach a result satisfactory to all parties. “This development unjustifiably ignores that careful and robust regulatory process,” a spokeswoman said.
Pause on advertisements for those under 18 years of age
Meta’s plan for the paid version of Facebook and Instagram to be the shield for personalized advertising of its traditional versions has a hole: minors. European laws do not allow minors under 18 to sign up for that monthly subscription to get rid of ads, so the only option for them would continue to be to accept data tracking or not use Instagram or Facebook.
The situation has forced the company to “pause” personalized ads on both social networks for minors, which will disappear as of November 6. As explained by Meta, the measure is temporary and will remain active until it analyzes the application of paid versions on the continent and finds an appropriate way to continue providing personalized advertising to minors.