In recent years, Meta and other US big tech businesses have been punished with massive fines in the European Union for their business practices, and the bloc has also strengthened online legislation. On Wednesday, Meta suffered a stunning blow that could seriously harm its Facebook and Instagram advertising businesses after European Union regulators discovered it had improperly pushed users to accept tailored ads. The ruling, which includes a punishment of 390 million euros ($414 million), might force Meta to make significant changes to its advertising-based business in the European Union, one of its main markets.
The Irish Data Protection Commission recommended that Meta pay two fines: one of 210 million euros ($222.5 million) for infringement of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, and the other of 180 million euros for breaches of the same regulation by Instagram. The Irish Data Protection Commission said in a statement that Meta breached “its obligations in relation to transparency” and used an incorrect legal basis “for its processing of personal data for behavioral
Meta has three months to lay out how it plans to comply with the verdict. The judgment does not define what the firm must do, but it may result in Meta enabling customers to opt-in to having their data used for such tailored advertisements.
If a large proportion of users refuse to disclose their data, Meta will lose one of its most lucrative sources of revenue. Marketers use information about a user’s digital history to push ads in front of those who are most likely to buy, such as what videos on Instagram inspire a person to stop scrolling or what types of links a person clicks when perusing Facebook feeds. In 2021, the strategies helped Meta produce $118 billion in revenue.