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Meta Offers Free Choice to Deny Tracking to European Users

On Aug 1, 2023, Meta announced compliance with unavoidable legalities in Europe. European Union users can now deny tracking for behavioral ads.

Meta And Microtargeted Ads in EU

Meta has been entangled in an ongoing legal and regulatory procedure over microtargeted ads in behavioral advertisement. This procedure was expected to conclude this month. In an Aug 1 blog post, they announced consent based on European Union Law for targeted ads.

The Tech Giant’s announcement seems to preempt the legal outcome, potentially influencing the implementation timeline. Both public and regulatory narratives are unfavorable towards Meta, suggesting an attempt to shape opinions.

Meta And Microtargeted

Last month, the data protection authority of Norway imposed a temporary ban on Meta for running behavioral ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram without user consent. The blog post doesn’t indicate the timeline for implementing Consent Based ads. However, with a temporary ban from Norway and the EU’s looming decision, the timeline is expected to be closer. The EU Regulatory Authority will announce the final timeline.

The Wall Street Journal leaked Meta’s intention, reporting that tech giants are under immense pressure from EU scrutiny. Compliance with one piece of EU law doesn’t necessarily wait for another. Hence, a 2024 implementation timeline seems wishful thinking by Meta.

Meta And Microtargeted

EU Regulations

Only a few months ago, in the same blog post, Meta justified switching to a “legitimate interest” basis for processing data for targeted ads. However, a Court of Justice of the EU ruling closed that escape hatch, leaving them with no option but consent. At the beginning of this year, its prior claim of contract performance as the legal basis for ads processing was also deemed in breach of the bloc’s GDPR.

Until now, the social media behemoth operated without asking users if they want to be tracked and profiled. It aimed to make tracking and profiling unavoidable on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Threads. However, EU privacy campaigners have long pointed out that forced commercial mass surveillance contradicts EU law.


In short, Meta’s privacy-hostile forced surveillance behavioral ads business model has reached its limit in the EU. The only legal choice left is to allow users the option not to be tracked.

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