Meta must cease the unlawful provision of personalized advertisements on Facebook and Instagram within Europe. This determination has been made by European privacy regulators, including the Dutch Data Protection Authority (Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens or AP), through the European Data Protection Board (EDPB).

Aleid Wolfsen, the chair of the AP and vice-chair of the EDPB, stated: “Meta tracks what you post, click on, or like on Facebook and Instagram and uses that information for offering personalized ads. Unlawfully processing the personal information of millions of people on Facebook is a revenue model for Meta. By putting an end to this, people’s privacy is better protected.”

Processing Ban for Meta

The ban on offering personalized ads is a consequence of an expedited procedure initiated within the EDPB with support from the Norwegian data protection authority and the AP. Following Norway’s prior findings, this ban is now applicable throughout Europe.

The EDPB has directed the Irish data protection authority, the lead supervisory body, to take definitive actions against Meta Ireland within a two-week period. This directive stems from the EDPB’s view that the Irish authority has not acted promptly enough.

No Valid Legal Basis

The EDPB has found that Meta engages in the unlawful processing of personal data from Facebook and Instagram users, including details like users’ locations, ages, education, and their online activity. Meta builds user profiles from this information, which advertisers find valuable, contributing to Meta’s revenue.

According to the EDPB, Meta lacks a valid legal basis for handling this personal data. The benefits claimed by Meta do not provide sufficient justification for processing users’ personal data, and users are often unaware that they are essentially trading their personal data for personalized ads when engaging with Meta.

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