Meta has been fined €390m euros (£346m) for breaking EU data rules. The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) says the way Meta asked permission to use peoples’ data for ads on Facebook and Instagram was unlawful.
Meta, which owns both platforms, has three months to change how it obtains and uses data to target ads.
Meta says it is “disappointed” and intends to appeal, stressing that the decision does not prevent personalised advertising on its platforms.
The regulator said that Facebook and Instagram can not “force consent” by saying consumers have to accept how their data is used, or leave the platform. As Facebook and Instagram have European headquarters in Ireland, the DPC takes the lead in ensuring they comply with EU data law, reports BBC.
Privacy campaigners say the decision is a major victory and means Meta will have to give users real choice over how their data is used to target online advertisements.
It means Meta will potentially have to change the way a key part of its business works. The bulk of the firm’s money, over $118bn (£97.8bn) in 2021, comes from advertising. The fine is the second significant penalty imposed by the watchdog in recent months.
In November it was fined €265m (£228m) by the DPC over a data breach that saw the personal details of hundreds of millions of Facebook users published online. According to the Irish Times Meta set aside €2bn (£1.7bn) to cover potential European fines in 2023.