In the European Union, the company Meta (social networks Facebook and Instagram) will be banned from showing ads based on personal data.
This decision was made by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), the Wall Street Journal and Reuters inform.
From now on, Meta will be able to serve ads based on personal data only with the consent of users.
The EDPB is likely to seek fines in the event of a breach.
Note that Meta's European headquarters are located in Dublin along with Google, Apple and Twitter.
The Irish Data Protection Agency is therefore the main regulator responsible for prosecuting them.
The case against Meta in Ireland was initiated by a complaint filed by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems in 2018.
"Instead of having a yes/no option for personalized ads, they simply moved the consent clause into the terms and conditions. This is not only unfair, but clearly illegal," the report said.
The activist demanded that Meta allow users to have versions of all apps that do not use personal data for advertising.
However, the company can still use non-personalized data for advertising purposes or require permission to use it.
Note that Meta has for many years allowed users to opt out of ad personalization based on data from other websites and apps.
But it did not provide such an opportunity for advertising based on data about the activity of users on its platforms, for example, which videos an Instagram user watches.
The business, which is worth tens of billions of dollars a year, involves showing users digital ads that are targeted based on those users' digital activity on apps and websites.
If a large percentage of users opt out of personalization, Facebook and Instagram will have less information with which to build the ad audience that generates the bulk of the company's revenue.
"This is not a final decision and it is still too early to talk about the consequences," said a Meta spokesman.
It was previously reported that Apple was sued for collecting user data without permission.
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