Norwegian regulator imposes penalty on Meta for targeted advertising

Norwegian regulator imposes penalty on Meta for targeted advertising

Norwegian privacy regulator Datatilsynet has ruled that Meta must pay a fine for serving targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram. The tech company does not comply with European privacy rules to collect relevant data for this. The penalty is converted to 89,000 euros per day as long as the company continues to do so and will take effect from Monday, August 14.

The Norwegian regulator confirms the imposition of the penalty to the American news agency Reuters.

Court: ‘Processing user data for targeted advertisements is not a legitimate interest’

Meta has been criticized several times in recent months for illegally collecting user data to serve up targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram. The technology company said it had been doing this for years to implement an implementation agreement. The Data Protection Commission, Ireland’s privacy watchdog, ruled that this ‘contractual necessity’ violated the General Data Protection Regulation. The company was fined 390 million euros for this.

Meta changed the legal basis for its data collection practices in March to avoid another fine. Since then, the company says it collects user data on the basis of ‘legitimate interest’. At the beginning of July, the European Court of Justice put an end to this because offering targeted advertisements is not a legitimate interest.

Meta must pay 89,000 per day as long as it does not comply with GDPR

Datatilsynet used the Court’s judgment to temporarily ban Meta from serving targeted advertisements. According to the Norwegian regulator, Meta uses “highly opaque and intrusive monitoring and profiling activities” to process the private data of Facebook and Instagram users.

The American tech company was given until Friday, August 4, to make adjustments in order to comply with European privacy laws and regulations. Meta should have done that. The privacy watchdog from Norway has therefore decided to impose a penalty of 89,000 euros per day on Meta as long as the company violates the rights of European users.

The fine regime starts on Monday, August 14, and lasts until Friday, November 3. This means that the fine for the unlawful collection and processing of user data to offer targeted advertisements can amount to more than 7.7 million euros. The fine could become permanent if the Norwegian regulator submits its decision to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB). The decision can then be extended to the rest of Europe.

Meta says it needs ‘months’ to implement a new basis

At the beginning of this month, Meta said it “intent” to change the foundation for targeted advertising again. Users would then have to give explicit permission to Meta to collect and process user data for behavioural advertising. “This change is intended to address a number of evolving and emerging regulatory requirements in the region,” Meta stated. 

The privacy watchdog considers this commitment insufficient. “According to Meta, it will take several months for this to be implemented. We also have no idea what the consent mechanism will turn out to be. And in the meantime, people’s rights are being violated every day,” said Datatilsynet.

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