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New European Law 'Targets' Personalized Ad Targeting On Facebook

A new directive by the European Commission may stop advertisers from leveraging users’s information when advertising on Facebook.  The Telgraph reports that the EC is looking into the way that Facebook “eavesdrops” on users and how personal data is made available for ad targeting.  This new legislation will be introduced in January and will be applicable to all action taken on Facebook, even though most information is stored on U.S. based computers.

The new laws would require that users would need to approve more than the standard 4,000 word contract if their personal information was to be used in ad targeting.  The EC  stated the following about the collection of personal data:

“If personal data is being passed on to a third party or used for targeted advertising then this should be made clear to the user when they sign up to the site and reinforced when users are invited to use an application.”

Facebook responded to the announcement by confirming the collection of data while assuring that the data stays anonymous.  The official Facebook statement given to The Telegraph:

“We can show relevant ads in a way that respects individual privacy because our system only provides advertisers with anonymous and aggregate information for the purpose of targeting ads.”

“We do not share people’s names with an advertiser without a person’s explicit consent and we never sell personal information to third parties.”

If Facebook does not conform to the new rules laid out by the EC, they could face legal action or a “massive fine.”  For more information see the full Telegraph article.

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