Facebook Ad Targeting In Jeopardy in Europe

    November 28, 2011
    Chris Crum

It would appear that Facebook users may be getting more control over their privacy and how their personal information is used.

Reports have indicated that the company is close to settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which would keep Facebook from changing privacy settings without users opting into them (as opposed to the strategy of making changes, and requiring users to opt out if they don’t like them).

Now, the European Commission is set to introduce an initiative in January, according to the Telegraph, which would ban the kind of targeted advertising that Facebook ads are based on.

Facebook allows advertisers to target based on location, age/birthday, interests, education, and connections.

“Interest targeting allows advertisers to target users based on information they’ve provided in their profile (timeline),” says Facebook. “This includes listed likes and interests, the Pages they like, apps they use, and other profile (timeline) content they’ve provided.”

In other words, if you’ve provided the info to Facebook, it’s fair game, as far as Facebook is concerned.

Facebook also allows advertisers to target by connections. That means those who have become a fan of the advertiser’s Page, a member of their group, RSVP’d to an event, or used their app in the last month. Advertisers can also target friends of people who have engaged in these actions.

The Telegraph report says Facebook could face legal action or a massive fine if it doesn’t comply with the new legislation.

With an IPO expected to on the way, this is hardly a great time for Facebook’s money making machine to be compromised, even if it’s not a worldwide compromise.