Facebook Inc., despite the European Union’s privacy regulations, insists that it would not discontinue using targeted adverts as a condition for using its service. Moreover, it also needs to keep its business intact.
Facebook alongside other internet-based companies like Alphabet’s Google thrive on advert placements as their primary source of revenue. If this factor is permanently cut off, it will lose relevance because it’s a free service and not very many people will be willing to offer a subscription fee to access the service.
The EU law is expected to take effect in May. The EU proposed law declares stringent rules to keep internet-based companies in check and promises to hugely fine any company that flouts the law. Currently, internet-based companies face charges if found guilty of harvesting users’ information without authorisation.
Rob Sherman, Deputy Chief Privacy Officer, Facebook said the social media firm would meet with the European Union this week to request permission on how Facebook uses their data but that the social network will not opt out of targeted marketing entirely. “Facebook is an advertising-supported service…all ads on Facebook are targeted to some extent, and that’s true for offline advertising, as well,” he added.
However, he noted that Facebook users’ have the privilege to limit the kinds of information that advertisers use to target their adverts. These include sex, state of residence, age and other details on Facebook. The social network will now use “permission screen” to enable users to opt between accepting the policies and managing data settings. Apparently, there’s no option to decline the social network’s policies. If anyone isn’t comfortable, they can choose to delete Facebook. “People can choose to not be on Facebook if they want,” Sherman said.
The permission screen will begin showing up on Facebook’s websites and smartphone in Europe before rolling out to other countries.
The privacy advocates and regulators are closely monitoring how Facebook will comply with the EU law on privacy because of its recent scandal with Cambridge Analytica. If the matter is swept under the carpet, other smaller firms may do likewise.
The social network had disclosed last month that the private information of about 80 million users had been harvested and abused without authorisation by the British political consulting firm, which led to a scandal and the company, subsequently losing part of its stock shares.