OSLO, NORWAY — Norway’s data protection agency said Monday it would ban Facebook and Instagram owner Meta from using the personal information of users for targeted advertising, threatening a US$100,000 daily fine if it continues.
The business practices of US big tech firms are under close scrutiny across Europe over concerns about privacy, with huge fines handed out in recent years.
The Norwegian watchdog, Datatilsynet, said Meta uses information such as the location of users, the content they like and their posts for marketing purposes.
“The Norwegian Data Protection Authority considers that the practice of Meta is illegal and is therefore imposing a temporary ban on behavioural advertising on Facebook and Instagram,” it said in a statement.
The ban will begin on 4 August and last three months to give Meta time to take corrective measures. The company will be fined one million kroner (US$100,000) per day if it fails to comply.
“We will analyse the decision… but there is no immediate effect on our services,” Meta told AFP in a statement.
The Norwegian regulator added that its ruling was neither a ban on Facebook and Instagram operating in the country nor a blanket ban on behavioural advertising.
The Austrian digital privacy campaign group noyb, which has lodged a number of complaints against Meta’s activities, said it “welcomes this decision as a first important step” and hopes data regulators in other countries will follow suit.
Meta suffered a major setback earlier this year when European regulators dismissed the legal basis Meta had used to justify gathering users’ personal data for use in targeted advertising.
Meta suffered another major setback earlier this month when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rejected its various workarounds and empowered antitrust regulators to take data privacy issues into account.