Europe is becoming an increasingly difficult and expensive place for Facebook’s parent company Meta. In May it was hit with a $1.3 billion fine for privacy violations. Then, two weeks ago, the EU’s highest court said it had to get user consent for behavioral ad targeting. Now Norway may fine the company $100,000 a day over the same issue.
Dig deeper: EU’s ruling against Facebook a big blow to first-party data usage
What happened. On Monday, Norway’s data protection authority, the Datatilsynet, banned Meta from running behavioral ads on Facebook and Instagram without users’ consent. The order applies for three months but will stay in place until Meta changes its practices. It also warns the company could be fined if it doesn’t comply.
The Norwegian regulators cited both the previous fine and court ruling as the reason for its actions.
“Meta has recently received both a decision and a judgment against them to which they have not aligned themselves with. If we don’t intervene now, the data protection rights of the majority of Norwegians would be violated indefinitely. Invasive commercial surveillance for marketing purposes is one of the biggest risks to data protection on the internet today,” it said in a statement.
Despite the court ruling, Facebook and Instagram continue to gather data and target ads in the EU. There is no indication yet how Meta will respond to either the court ruling or the Norwegian order.
“The debate around legal bases has been ongoing for some time and businesses continue to face a lack of regulatory certainty in this area,” it said in a statement to TechCrunch. “We continue to constructively engage with the Irish DPC, our lead regulator in the EU, regarding our compliance with its decision. We will review the Norway DPA’s decision, and there is no immediate impact to our services.”
Why we care. It’s clear that the EU and nations like Norway which are part of the single-European market are putting an end to this type of data collection and use. This has been a reliable and lucrative source of income for a number of big tech companies.
It also means marketers will have to create a new paradigm for getting their ads in front of the right audience. Other methods already exist, but they are expensive which will put them out of reach for many companies.
Privacy regulations are why Meta hasn’t launched Threads in Europe. Companies need to get on board with GDPR or give up on the EU’s giant consumer market.
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