Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, announced on Tuesday 1er August its intention to seek the consent of its users based in the European Union (EU), before authorizing the sharing of their data for the purposes of targeted advertising on its social networks. The group did not say when this change would come – or in what form.
This development responds to ” regulatory requirements “explained the American Internet giant in a press release. Meta had been handed two hefty fines totaling €390 million in January by Ireland’s personal data regulator, acting on behalf of the EU, for breaches of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The decision of the Irish regulator deprived Meta of the legal basis authorizing it to compile, store and analyze the data of the hundreds of millions of Europeans using its services without formally asking them for their consent. It required it to question Internet users to obtain their specific consent, in order to offer them targeted advertising. At the time, Meta had reacted vehemently to these demands.
This decision was confirmed in early July by an opinion from the Court of Justice of the European Union, which also required Meta to provide explicit consent from users. According to the court, the acceptance of the general conditions of use of Facebook or Instagram cannot be assimilated to consent, a fortiori for the collection of so-called data “sensitive”.
“No immediate impact on our services”
In its press release, Meta does not specify how its users will have to decide on the collection of their personal information or how often. Will they have to do it just once, among many other buttons? Or will they have to do it very clearly, repeatedly, each time they use a new service, such as geolocation, groups, or news?
In any case, the company wanted to minimize the consequences of these changes. “There is no immediate impact on our services in the region. Once this change is enabled, advertisers will still be able to run personalized ad campaigns to reach potential customers.”assured the Californian group, ensuring to maintain “constructive dialogue” with regulators.
However, if its users are asked to accept – or refuse – the collection of their personal data for advertising targeting purposes, it is possible that some will refuse, preventing the distribution of finely personalized advertisements on their feed. This could harm the economic health of Meta: Europe generates about a fifth of its advertising turnover, an activity that ensures most of his income.