Aussies could be sued for using Facebook and Instagram if privacy laws change, Meta warns
- Internet users pay for using Meta platforms
- The Attorney General’s office has proposed amendments to the privacy law
- Includes allowing users to opt out of targeted ads
Australians could face charges for using Facebook and Instagram if the Australian government makes a series of changes to privacy reforms, including legislation that would allow users to opt out of targeted advertising.
Attorney General Mark Dreyfus’ office is considering allowing internet users to opt out of targeted advertising while companies still have to offer their services.
Currently, Facebook and Instagram users are shown ads tailored to their identity rather than what they enter into search engines.
Social media giant Meta derives most of its revenue from small businesses that pay to advertise on its platforms.
Attorney General Mark Dreyfus’s office is considering allowing internet users to opt out of targeted advertising while companies still have to offer their services
Melinda Claybaugh, privacy director for Meta, flew to Australia after the Attorney General reviewed the privacy law in February.
Ms. Claybaugh says the crackdown would hurt small businesses, which would struggle to reach their niche audiences with finely tuned, targeted advertising.
“I think it’s fair for people to consider what controls might be important to give people, but I think this proposal goes much further by allowing people to opt out of targeted ads entirely — [but it] would require companies to still provide their services,” the Meta executive told Mumbrella.
She said dozens of small businesses that rely on advertising to provide free services would be forced to find another revenue stream if the laws were passed.
One of these streams could prompt users to use Facebook and Instagram, though Ms Claybaugh admitted it was still “early”.
Meta executive Melinda Claybaugh said she supported the majority of the 116 proposed changes to the privacy law, with the social media giant disagreeing with only 10
The executive said it supported the majority of the 116 proposed amendments to the privacy law, with Meta disagreeing with only 10.
Ms Claybough agreed that ads targeting children under 18 or based on people’s sensitive data could be problematic, but that Meta already has a handle on this.
If passed in full, Australia would have some of the strictest privacy laws in the country and would be the first to monitor targeted advertising.
The Attorney General’s office has increased penalties for privacy violations and reappointed a privacy commissioner.
The government will seek feedback on the 116 proposed amendments to the 1988 Privacy Act before taking any further action.