Meta to allow users to opt out of targeted ads in Europe

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FILE – Facebook’s Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on, Oct. 28, 2021. California will be the first state to require companies that provide online services attractive to children to put the child’s interest first, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File) Tony Avelar/AP

Meta to allow users to opt out of targeted ads in Europe

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Facebook parent company Meta intends to let European Facebook and Instagram users opt out of personalized ads as part of a larger effort to respond to a European Union privacy order.

The new plan will begin on Wednesday and allow users in the European Union to choose if they want to be targeted by ads based on broad categories or if they’re OK with personalized ads, according to the Wall Street Journal. Users must submit a form to Meta objecting to its use of in-app activity. The company will then review the request before implementing the change. The exemption option is the latest update by Meta to account for the legal differences between the United States and the EU regarding privacy.


The change arrives months after EU regulators fined Meta 390 million euros ($425 million) for how Meta sought permission to track personal data. “In breach of its obligations in relation to transparency, information in relation to the legal basis relied on by was not clearly outlined to users, with the result that users had insufficient clarity as to what processing operations were being carried out on their personal data,” the Data Protection Commission wrote in its Jan. 4 announcement.

Meta initially responded to the fine by stating that it “strongly disagrees” with the conclusion and intends to appeal the decision.


Meta took a similar hit in May 2021 when Apple required iPhone app developers to ask users if they wanted their data to be tracked. The simple requirement led to Facebook losing $10 billion in revenue that year.

Meta has been the target of the DPC for regulations for more than a year. The DPC has fined the Big Tech giant for over $1 billion since the fall of 2021, including fines addressing Instagram’s handling of children’s data and its inability to stop hackers from stealing user data.

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