Opting Out of Creepy Ads on Facebook in the EU


Using Facebook within the European Union has become more complicated since their legal run-in with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). EU citizens have the right to opt out of the social media giant’s data tracking and profiling and now, thanks to a free tool provided by privacy advocate non-profit noyb, it’s simpler than ever.

The opt-out form provided by noyb is designed to make the process as straightforward as possible, and there’s no need to navigate the paperwork-laden process that Facebook was planning to offer EU users. Instead, noyb provides an email to be sent to Facebook’s data protection officer asking them to stop the data processing for ads.

Under GDPR, data processors must comply with the right to object without delay – meaning Meta should respond to any objections it receives shortly after. No surprise here, Meta has done its best to provide users with a convoluted opt-out form filled with irrelevant choices and hidden options. But more importantly, noyb’s form provides individuals with the direct privacy choice they are entitled to.

With a successful GDPR challenge, Meta has been ordered to switch legal bases for its ads processing, and is now claiming a “legitimate interest” for its microtargeting. As of this writing, Meta does not provide the legal opt-out that it is required to – making it essential to use the noyb tool to remove yourself from Meta’s surveillance ads.

noyb’s technology has played a crucial role in ensuring that user data is managed ethically. The group’s chair and founder Max Schrems commented on the situation, saying “Facebook’s moves are laughable and embarrassing – the user has to explain why Meta’s assessment is wrong in the individual case, and their assessment isn’t even published. Our form turns the table – Meta has to argue why they have an overriding interest and not the user.”

For those outside of the EU who wish they had the same basic privacy rights, it’s important to contact your representatives and lobby for better legislation. But for EU citizens, at least the opt-out is at hand. noyb’s tool makes it easier to access the rights that each of us are entitled to – so use it to opt out of Facebook’s creepy ads, and keep your data safe.