EU regulators raise concerns over Meta’s targeted ad model – WSJ

(Reuters) -European Union regulators have ruled Meta Platforms Inc should not require users to agree to personalized ads based on their digital activity, the Wall Street journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the decision.

The ruling was approved on Monday by a board representing all EU privacy regulators and could limit the data Meta can access to sell such ads, the report added.

Shares of the company fell 5.3% in morning trade.

The board ruled the EU privacy law does not allow Meta’s social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to use their terms of service as a justification to permit advertising based on what users tap and watch within their apps, according to the report.

The rulings, which have not yet been disclosed publicly, do not directly order Meta to change practices, but call for Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) to issue public orders that reflect its decisions, along with significant fines, the report said. Meta’s European headquarters is based in Ireland.

“We’ve engaged fully with the DPC on their inquiries and will continue to engage with them as they finalize their decision,” a Meta spokesperson said.

For years, Meta’s social media platforms have allowed users to opt out of personalized ads, which are targeted after collecting data about user behavior and choices across other apps and websites. But the EU ruling could stifle Meta’s ability to target ads based on user activity inside their own apps as well.

Apple’s new privacy rules, which limit digital advertisers from tracking iPhone users, have also been a blow to the Facebook parent.

Shares of companies reliant on digital advertising including Snap and Pinterest are down 7.9% and 4.3%, respectively.

The DPC did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. A spokeswoman for the European Data Protection Board, the body representing all EU privacy regulators, declined to provide details of the decisions made.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta in BengaluruEditing by Vinay Dwivedi and Krishna Chandra Eluri)