APAC Adtech Leaders React to Meta's Potential Ban from Creating Personalised Ads

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Europe's top court has backed the German antitrust watchdog's ruling that Meta cannot profile users across its platforms and the web without real consent. Campaign finds out what this means for Asia Pacific.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has suffered a significant setback as the European Union's highest court undermined the legal foundation of its targeted advertising approach.

The ruling is poised to result in a German prohibition on Meta's merging user data from WhatsApp, Instagram, and external websites with Facebook data to deliver personalised ads.

The case originated from a determination by a German antitrust authority that Facebook was exploiting its dominant position by combining data without obtaining users' voluntary consent. This decision triggered a legal battle, culminating in the recent ruling from the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). The CJEU's judgment reinforces the connection between antitrust and privacy enforcement, indicating potential ramifications for regulating data practices among tech giants.

The court's challenge to Meta's reliance on asserting a 'legitimate interest' as grounds for processing users' data for personalised advertising without explicit consent is of particular significance.

Matt Sutton, chief revenue officer, TrafficGuard, points out that social media has been the biggest communication revolution since the Internet. As a civilisation, he says we are only just starting to realise the monumental scale of its impact on our societies and our daily lives, encompassing everything from how our politicians’ court influence to the safety of our children.

“We see the pendulum swing from the ‘free for all’ on data mobility of the early ‘Noughties’ to a strong political desire to regulate,” Sutton tells Campaign.

“From a consumer perspective, it will be fascinating as people also want a free Internet that is easy to use and expect frictionless personalisation - so something will need to give.” Sutton observes that for big tech like Meta, it may well be the case that though they are global, how they handle data privacy differs by geo depending on the level of regulation and consumer scrutiny.

“For the advertising industry and marketers at large, wherever you look, this brings headwinds. If data was the ‘new gold’, first-party data is platinum,” adds Sutton.

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