Only surveillance capitalism there is a kick. In an ultimatum, the European Union has asked Meta to reform its approach to personalized advertising—a seemingly inconsequential legal regulation that could have consequences. profound for a company that has become impressively rich, as Mark Zuckerberg once said, run ads.
The ruling, which came with a fine of 390 million euros ($414 million), was targeted specifically at Facebook and Instagram, but it was a blow to Big Tech as a whole. It’s also a sign that GDPR, Europe’s landmark privacy law introduced in 2018, is actually working. More than 1,400 fines has been introduced since it went into effect, but this time the bloc’s managers have shown their willingness to adopt the very business model that drives surveillance capitalism, a coined term by American scholar Shoshana Zuboff, tick. “It’s the beginning of the end of free data for all,” said Johnny Ryan, a privacy activist and senior fellow at the Irish Civil Liberties Council. .
To appreciate why, you need to understand how Meta makes billions of dollars. Currently, Meta users opt-in to personalized advertising by agreeing to the company’s terms of service—a long contract that users must accept in order to use the company’s products. In a ruling yesterday, Ireland’s data watchdog, which oversees Meta as the company’s EU headquarters are based in Dublin, speak Combining personalized advertising with terms of service in this way is a violation of GDPR. This ruling is a response to two complaints, both made on the effective date of GDPR in 2018.
Privacy activists say Meta has said it intends to appeal, but the ruling suggests change is inevitable. “It really questions the entire advertising industry, how do they move forward? And how do they move forward in a way that prevents lawsuits that require them to constantly change?” Estelle Masse, global data protection lead at digital rights group Access Now.
EU regulators have not told Meta how to revamp its operations, but many believe the company’s only option is to introduce an Apple-style system that explicitly asks users if whether they want to be tracked or not.
Apple privacy changes in 2021 is a blow to companies that rely on user data for advertising revenue—especially Meta. In February 2022, Meta told investors that Apple’s move would reduce the company’s revenue by about $10 billion by 2022. Research shows that when given the choice, a large number of Apple users (Between 54 and 96 percent, according to various estimates) declined to be tracked. If Meta were forced to introduce a similar system, it would threaten one of the company’s main revenue streams.
Meta denied it had to change the way it operates in response to the EU ruling, claiming that it just needed to find a new way to legally justify the way it handled people’s data. “We want to reassure users and businesses that they can continue to benefit from personalized advertising across the EU through Meta’s platforms,” the company said. speak in a statement.