Meta is facing a major setback in its European operations, as the European Union has agreed to extend a ban on targeted advertising on Facebook and Instagram to all 30 countries in the EU and the European Economic Area.

The ban, which was initially imposed by non-EU member Norway, targets the practice of “behavioral advertising,” which uses users’ personal data to deliver personalized ads.

“After careful consideration, the EDPB considered it necessary to instruct the IE SA to impose an EEA-wide processing ban, addressed to Meta IE. Already in December 2022, the EDPB Binding Decisions clarified that contract is not a suitable legal basis for the processing of personal data carried out by Meta for behavioral advertising,” said EDPB Chair Anu Talus.

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“In addition, Meta has been found by the IE SA to not have demonstrated compliance with the orders imposed at the end of last year. It is high time for Meta to bring its processing into compliance and to stop unlawful processing.”

This decision is a significant blow for Meta, as it relies heavily on targeted advertising revenue. The company has already said that it will give users in the EU and EEA the opportunity to consent to targeted advertising, and will offer a subscription model to comply with regulatory requirements. However, it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to stave off the ban.

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