General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) , Standards, Regulations & Compliance

Norway Threatens Meta With Fines for Ad Violations

Social Media Giant Faces Prospect of Being Fined $100,000 Per Day Starting Aug. 14
Norway Threatens Meta With Fines for Ad Violations
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The Norwegian data regulator says it will start fining Facebook parent company Meta nearly $100,000 daily starting on Monday unless the social media giant stops showing users behavioral ads without their explicit consent.

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The threat comes after the Data Protection Authority of Norway, known as Datatilsynet, in July imposed a temporary ban on compulsory behavioral advertising on Facebook and Instagram. Meta is challenging the regulator's decision in Oslo court. Facebook did not reply to Information Security Media Group's request for comment.

European privacy advocates have with mounting success used the continent's General Data Protection Regulation to take on the business model supporting free online platforms. Internet giants including Facebook and Google offer cost-free access to powerful digital technology in exchange for collecting data about user online behavior. They use the data to show users ads that businesses hope reach likely customers. Unlike contextual advertising, which matches ads to the content of web pages, behavioral advertising targets specific user profiles with ads.

Advocates - and Datatilsynet - call the data tracking that fuels behavioral advertising a privacy violation.

The Norwegian regulator cited as authority for the prohibition a July decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union holding that Facebook must obtain user consent before showing behavioral ads.

In August, Meta pledged to shift the legal basis for using data collection to "consent" as defined by the General Data Protection Regulation. It's unclear whether the change in justification will result in the changes privacy advocates want. Meta said the shift will "not prevent personalized advertising on our platform. Advertisers can continue to use our platforms to reach potential customers, grow their business and create new markets."

In December, the Irish Data Protection Commission fined Meta 390 million euros after finding the social media giant could not rely on its terms of service to obtain user permission for behavioral ads (see: Irish Privacy Watchdog Fines Meta 390 Million Euros for Ads).

About the Author

Akshaya Asokan

Akshaya Asokan

Senior Correspondent, ISMG

Asokan is a U.K.-based senior correspondent for Information Security Media Group's global news desk. She previously worked with IDG and other publications, reporting on developments in technology, minority rights and education.

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