Meta, the company behind popular social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, has been fined 390 million euros ($414 million) by European Union (EU) regulators for illegally forcing users to accept personalized ads.
The ruling, one of the most significant issues under the EU’s data protection law, could require Meta to make significant changes to its advertising business in the EU, which is one of its largest markets.
The decision centers on Meta’s practice of receiving legal permission from users to collect their data for personalized advertising. The company’s terms-of-service agreement requires users to either allow their data to be used for personalized ads or stop using Meta’s services.
The EU has determined that this violates the General Data Protection Regulation, aka GDPR.
Meta has three months to outline how it will comply with the ruling, which does not specify what the company must do, but could involve allowing users to choose whether they want their data used for targeted promotions.
If a large number of users opt not to share their data, it could severely impact Meta’s advertising revenue, which was worth $118 billion in 2021.
Class-action lawsuit against Facebook claiming discrimination gets the green light
The Quebec Court of Appeal has given the green light to a class-action lawsuit against Facebook that alleges discrimination.
The lawsuit claims that Facebook allowed advertisers to target job and housing ads based on factors such as age, gender, and race, which the plaintiffs argue resulted in discrimination against users.
The class action could include thousands of Quebec residents who have used Facebook since April 2016 and were seeking jobs or housing during that period. The case could potentially involve $100 million in damages.
Facebook has 60 days to decide whether to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, after which the case will return to the Quebec Superior Court if an appeal is not made.
The lawsuit centers on the practice of “microtargeting” ads, which are designed to appear only in the Facebook feeds of certain groups being targeted.
The use of microtargeting on job ads may violate Canadian human rights law, according to experts.