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Norway to fine Meta nearly US$100,000 a day over data use

Norwegian watchdog fines Meta (Facebook’s owner) US$100,000/day for breaching ad targeting ban, citing intrusive surveillance and data protection violations.



OSLO, NORWAY — Norway’s data protection agency said Tuesday it would start fining Facebook and Instagram owner Meta nearly US$100,000 per day for defying a ban on using users’ personal information to target ads.

The Norwegian watchdog, Datatilsynet, said Meta would be fined one million kroner (US$97,000) per day, starting August 14.

Tobias Judin, head of Datatilsynet’s international department, said the fine related to a decision made on July 14, where the agency had temporarily “imposed a ban on behavioural advertising on Facebook and Instagram.”

“Meta’s behavioural advertising entails intrusive surveillance of its users, negatively impacting their right to data protection and freedom of information,” Judin told AFP in an email, adding that there were many vulnerable groups on the platforms, such as “young people, the elderly and people with cognitive disabilities.”

“We are also concerned that sensitive personal data may be used for advertising purposes. We have therefore found that Meta’s practices are contrary to data protection law,” Judin continued.

Datatilsynet announced the ban on 17 July and originally said that Meta had until 4 August to take corrective measures.

“The coercive fine is issued because Meta has not yet complied with our ban,” Judin said.

The social media giant said last week it intends to ask users in the European Union, EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland to give their consent before allowing targeted advertising on its networks.

European regulators in January had dismissed the previous legal basis — “legitimate interest” — Meta had used to justify gathering users’ personal data for targeted advertising.

Judin said this was a “positive change -– but personal data continues to be processed unlawfully in the interim.”

A spokesman for Meta told AFP the company was appealing the decision by the Norwegian watchdog, saying they believed they had already committed to the consent the authority was asking for.


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