Meta Will Seek Consent for Collecting User Data in Europe

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Meta Will Seek Consent for Collecting User Data in Europe

After long legal battles, Meta has finally agreed to align its data collection policy with EU standards.

This means its platforms will now ask users in the European Union for consent before targeting them in personalized ads.

Meta is changing its data collection policy

At the moment, EU users have to agree to Meta’s invasive data collection policy when signing up. If they want to opt-out, they have to fill out a long form.

This will now change, as the company has agreed to make changes to its operations.

In an update to an older blog post, Meta said that this will not take immediate effect. Starting in October, users in the EU, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland will be able to opt in or out by just clicking Yes or No.

Previously, the social media giant has argued that there is no requirement for user consent to collect data for advertising purposes. Meta has now said that evolving regulatory measures have inspired it to make changes to its approach. 

This could have a catastrophic impact on the social media giant’s targeted ads. However, the company has assured marketers that it will still be able to advertise products to individual users.

If many people in Europe say no to data collection, Meta will lack signals to identify user interests and behavioral patterns. Without the information it’s currently collecting, it will not be able to build effective ads.

As a result, marketers may be less interested in spending a lot of money on Meta’s ad space.

The background

One of the recent rulings against Meta was in Norway. The court asked it to either stop showing targeted ads or ask for consent before doing so.

This led to a temporary ban on the company’s ads in the country. Consumer rights group NOYB applauded the move and brought its own complaints over Meta violating GDPR rules.

The organization said the ban in Norway is the first and an important step towards making the conglomerate introduce some changes.

In May this year, EU regulators fined Meta over $1.3 billion for transferring user data from Europe to the US. They argued the company failed to comply with a 2020 decision that prevented it from doing so, as it deemed that the data is not sufficiently protected from the US spy agencies.

Last week, Australia fined Meta $14 million for collecting user data through Onavo’s VPN app. The authorities have also sued it for the famous Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal.

After the recent fines and the EU pushing for it to change its data collection policy, Meta will finally make the necessary changes. If it didn’t, the company would risk losing even more money in fines for violating data protection rules.

This is also the reason why its latest platform, Threads, remains unavailable in the EU. Some users tried masking their location with a VPN but were still unable to access it.

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