Meta launches legal challenge against DPC’s data processing ban

20/11/2023 | The Irish Times

Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd has taken legal action in the Irish High Court against a proposed immediate ban on its Facebook and Instagram platforms from processing personal data for use in behavioural advertising. The latest development follows the European Data Protection Board's binding decision requiring the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) to issue the company an enforcement notice to cease processing data for advertising to users within seven days. 

Meta asked the High Court to quash the enforcement order as it is vague and unclear regarding its obligations under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Meta also alleges that the decision amounts to a breach of legitimate expectations of a fair hearing and procedures and that the decision renders certain sections of the 2018 Data Protection Act unconstitutional. Ireland and the Attorney General have been included as respondents to Meta's proceedings.

In a related article published by the IAPP, University of Surrey Associate Professor of Law Mikołaj Barczentewicz has written a detailed examination of Meta's decision to offer Facebook and Instagram users the option of paying for an ad-free experience or continuing to use the services for free with ads. While several data protection authorities are looking into the company's "pay or consent" implementation, the model is already a common approach in many European digital services. 

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal (£) reports on how Meta's ad-free subscription service works in practice. A reporter found that Instagram stopped showing sponsored posts, but brand-owned accounts and influencer posts featuring paid partnerships were still suggested.

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