Meta has announced its plans to comply with European Union privacy regulations by offering users the choice to opt out of its behavioral advertising. The tech giant, which has been under regulatory scrutiny over the legal basis for its microtargeted ads, is now shifting to a consent-based legal basis for targeted advertising.
Meta's blog post, however, does not specify a date for the implementation of these changes, only vaguely referring to the coming months. The final decision on the compliance timeline rests with EU regulators, who may impose their own local bans on Meta's behavioral advertising in their markets unless user consent is obtained.
Reports of Meta's intention to switch to a consent-based model surfaced earlier in a Wall Street Journal article, suggesting Meta aims to make this transition by the end of October, requiring at least three months for implementation. However, Meta has hinted at possibly delaying this switch until early next year to align with incoming legal requirements from the EU's Digital Markets Act.
Meta's new approach to user consent is a drastic shift from its previous business model, which relied on mass surveillance and data processing for targeted ads. The shift is a result of EU regulations and legal decisions, which left Meta with no option but to offer users a choice on tracking.
However, this choice will not be universally available. Users in the United States and the United Kingdom will not have the option to deny tracking, as the free choice is being offered only to users in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland.
This development is seen as a win for EU privacy campaigners, despite the long process and continued enforcement delays. This significant change for Meta suggests that the era of untouchable tech giants disregarding legal regulations may be coming to an end.