Meta fights back over behavioural marketing ban in Norway

OSLO: US tech giant Meta on Tuesday asked a Norwegian court to defer a ban on behavioural marketing based on users’ personal information, which has landed it a heavy fine in the country.

Since August 14, Meta has been incurring a fine of one million kroner ($97,000) per day of non-compliance under an order issued by the Norwegian data protection agency Datatilsynet.

The watchdog said Meta had not complied with a July 14 ban on sending Facebook and Instagram users targeted advertisements based on their personal data which the social media platform collects without their explicit consent.

“This is an unreasonable decision, which was not possible to conform to in the given timeframe,“ Meta’s lawyer Christian Reusch told the court, quoted by Norwegian news agency NTB.

The group wants the ban suspended and pointed to a similar legal case in Ireland, where its European headquarters is based.

In January, the Irish regulator — acting on behalf of the EU — slapped Meta with heavy fines totalling 390 million euros for breaching EU personal data laws on Facebook and Instagram.

On August 1, the social media giant said it would ask users in the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland to give their consent before allowing targeted advertising on its networks.

But the Norwegian regulator has said that is insufficient, notably due to the lack of a binding timeframe to put the consent in place.

“Datatilsynet is of the opinion that the terms for a suspension (of the ban) have not been met,“ Datatilsynet official Tobias Judin said.

“Meta can and should comply” with the ban.

The court case at the Oslo district court will conclude on Wednesday.

Europe is a key market for Meta.

Facebook had some 300 million daily users in Europe at the end of 2022 out of about 2 billion users worldwide, with Europeans generating about a fifth of Meta’s advertising sales. –AFP