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Meta reserves the right to privacy only for European users

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  • 3 min read

After being facing three multimillion-dollar fines for forcing users to agree to tracking as part of Facebook and Instagram’s terms of service, Meta is now planning to allow European users to opt out of Instagram and Meta tracking. Under the new plans, Meta will allow EU users to choose a version of its services that target them based on age range, general location and other broader categories, instead of their in-app activity. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that users willing to opt out will have to fill out an online form objecting to Meta’s use of their in-app activity for ads, which will then be evaluated by the company before the change is implemented. Meta evaluating these applications does limit the effect of this rule, but something is better than nothing. 

Meanwhile, the company reports that it’ll continue appealing the rulings and fines it’s bound to comply with stating that its approach was in fact, compliant. It further states that this legal change doesn’t prevent personalised advertising on the platform. 

Photo by mundissima /
The opt-out process seems to be deliberatly difficult to follow through. | Photo by mundissima /

Additionally, Meta’s approach of notifying users of their right to object to tracking instead of proactively seeking opt-in consent is also expected to cause problems that might lead to new complaints. Not to mention the entire opt-out process seems to be deliberately designed to be difficult to discourage users from actively opting out of tracking. 

Meta seems to be desperately trying to find a way out of complying with EU’s regulations, even threatening to leave the region with Instagram and Facebook, a warning that wasn’t particularly effective. Besides, Meta and similar companies are already taking a hit from Apple, which in 2021 started asking iPhone users whether they want their usage tracked cutting off a significant source of data for companies that use it for targeted ads. 

Nearly a quarter of Meta’s $113.64 billion ad revenue came from Europe. Considering these regulations go through and Meta is forced to drop in-app activity tracking for targeted ads, that could take a significant chunk out of the company’s revenue. 

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: