This article was published on August 8, 2023

Norway fines Meta 1 MILLION crowns per day over data harvesting for behavioural ads

Facebook's behavioural advertising has enraged European regulators

Norway fines Meta 1 MILLION crowns per day over data harvesting for behavioural ads

Meta’s litany of European privacy sanctions in 2023 just got a little longer. After a €390mn fine for illegal personalised ads, another €5.5mn hit for similar violations in WhatsApp, and a GDPR record €1.2bn for unsafe data transfers, this week yet another punishment arrived — and the sentence did not disappoint.

Norwegian regulators have demanded a gloriously round figure that would make Dr Evil proud: 1 MILLION crowns (€89,000) per day. The penalties are due to begin on August 14, but Meta wants a temporary injunction against the order, Reuters reports.

The ruling follows news last month that Norway will temporarily ban behavioural ads on Facebook and Instagram over privacy breaches. At the time, the country’s data protection authority, Datatilsynet, warned that Meta would also be fined if it didn’t address the violations.

The regulator cited various risks of using online behaviour for ad targeting, from fuelling discrimination to undermining democracy.

“Invasive commercial surveillance for marketing purposes is one of the biggest risks to data protection on the internet today. Users must have sufficient control over their own data, and any tracking must be limited,” Tobias Judin, head of Datatilsynet’s International Sector, said in a statement.

As the backlash grew, Meta pledged last week to seek consent from EU users for showing personalised ads. But this measure failed to impress Datatilsynet. 

“According to Meta, this will take several months, at the very earliest, for them to implement… And we don’t know what the consent mechanism will look like,” Judin told Reuters.

As a result, Datatilsynet will issue the daily fines until at least November 3 — but the regulator has also threatened to make them permanent.

For Meta, such sanctions have become painfully familiar. In May, the social media behemoth was found to have amassed over half of the €4bn in total fines for GDPR breaches.

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