Social media giant Meta said on Tuesday it plans to seek consent from EU users before allowing businesses to target ads based on what they browse on services such as Facebook and Instagram.

Meta said the change was to address changing regulatory requirements in the region, stemming from an order issued in January by Meta’s main EU regulator, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, to reassess the legal basis for how it serves ads.

Facebook and Instagram users effectively agreed when they signed the terms and conditions of service to allow their data to be used for targeted advertising, until regulators rule that personal information cannot be processed in this way.

“Today, we are announcing our intention to change the legal basis for processing certain data for behavioral advertising of people in the EU, EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland from ‘legitimate interest’ to ‘consent,'” Meta said in a blog post .

“There will be no immediate impact on our services in the region. Once this change is in place, advertisers will still be able to run personalized ad campaigns to reach potential customers and grow their business. We have incorporated this change into our business outlook. ”

Meta added that it will share more information about how the process will work in practice in the coming months, following further engagement with regulators.

A spokesman for Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, the EU’s main privacy regulator for many of the world’s largest tech companies, said it had received a letter from Meta on the matter.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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