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EU Privacy Watchdog Set to Prohibit Meta From Running Ads Based on Personal Data

Vlad CONSTANTINESCU

December 07, 2022

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EU Privacy Watchdog Set to Prohibit Meta From Running Ads Based on Personal Data

A confidential EU privacy filing states that Meta will soon be unable to run ads based on personal data without users’ consent.

While the privacy watchdog’s decision is not yet final, Meta is expected to pay a hefty sum for running personal-data-based ads on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

According to the European Data Protection Board’s (EDPB’s) binding decision, the Irish DPC (Meta’s regulator in the EU) must issue the final decision within a month.

Meta currently lets users opt out of personalized ads based on data collected from third-party websites and apps. However, the same cannot be said about targeted ads based on user behavior on its platforms, including watching videos on Instagram or interacting with certain Facebook posts.

"This is not the final decision and it is too early to speculate,” a Meta spokesperson stated. “GDPR allows for a range of legal bases under which data can be processed, beyond consent or performance of a contract. Under the GDPR there is no hierarchy between these legal bases, and none should be considered better than any other. We’ve engaged fully with the DPC on their inquiries and will continue to engage with them as they finalise their decision."

If the decision is adopted, Meta will be forced to change its approach to personalized ads by seeking explicit consent from its users and letting them withdraw consent at any time without limiting the service. The decision won’t ban advertising within the platforms, and Meta will still be able to personalize ads using non-personal data.


Specialized software such as Bitdefender VPN can limit the amount of online tracking you’re exposed to, allowing you to surf the web anonymously and protecting you from targeted attacks. Its key features:

  • Built-in ad-blocker and anti-tracker
  • Cloak your IP address to prevent your online activity from being linked to you
  • Secure all your traffic on public networks to protect you against man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks and traffic monitoring
  • Let you access geo-restricted content
  • Help you bypass ISP throttling

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