Meta to seek user consent for targeted ads in the EU

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo
EU flag and Meta logo are seen in this illustration taken, May 22, 2023.

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Meta META.O intends to ask users in the European Union for their consent before allowing businesses to target advertising based on what they view on its services such as Facebook and Instagram, the social media giant said on Tuesday.

Meta said the change is to address a number of evolving regulatory requirements in the region and stems from an order in January by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, Meta’s lead EU regulator, to reassess the legal basis on how it targets ads.

Facebook and Instagram users had effectively agreed to allow their data to be used in targeted advertising when they signed up to the services’ terms and conditions, until the regulator ruled it could not process personal information in that way.

“Today, we are announcing our intention to change the legal basis that we use to process certain data for behavioral advertising for people in the EU, EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland from ‘Legitimate Interests’ to ‘Consent’,” Meta said in a blog post.

“There is no immediate impact to our services in the region. Once this change is in place, advertisers will still be able to run personalized advertising campaigns to reach potential customers and grow their businesses. We have factored this change into our business outlook.”

Meta added that it would share further information on how the process will work in practice over the coming months following further engagement with regulators.

A spokesperson for Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, which is the lead privacy regulator for many of the world’s largest technology companies within the EU, said it had received correspondence from Meta on the matter.