Statements
2023

Accountable Tech Statement on Landmark Ruling Against Meta’s Surveillance Advertising Business

For Immediate Release
January 4, 2023
Contact: press@accountabletech.org

 

Accountable Tech co-founder and Executive Director Nicole Gill released the following statement Wednesday in response to E.U. regulators finding Meta’s surveillance advertising practices unlawful:

“This ruling is a landmark victory in the fight against tech giants who extract users’ personal data without consent, manipulate us, and warp public discourse in service of their toxic business model.

Accountable Tech has been at the forefront of the movement to ban surveillance advertising, and we continue to be encouraged by the progress we’ve seen on both sides of the Atlantic over the past two years. As grassroots momentum builds and advocates’ voices grow louder, it brings about change – whether from companies heeding consumers’ demands, policymakers backing ambitious reforms, or regulators finally enforcing the full weight of the laws on the books, as they did today.

While we celebrate this critical win in Europe, we once again urge US lawmakers to step up, hold Big Tech accountable, and bring an end to the toxic surveillance advertising business model.”

Background:

  • March 2021, Accountable Tech launched a multi-pronged campaign to Ban Surveillance Advertising (BSA), helping to build a transatlantic coalition of over 50 advocacy groups fighting to end this extractive business model. The coalition’s diversity reflects the breadth of societal harms inherent to surveillance advertising — from accelerating disinformation, discrimination, and threats to vulnerable communities, to undermining privacy rights, autonomy, and competition.

  • April 2021, AT launched the “Everyone Opt Out” campaign as Apple launched new tools to reject cross-app tracking, reaching millions of grassroots supporters across the BSA coalition.

  • September 2021, AT submitted a sweeping rulemaking petition urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prohibit surveillance advertising as an ‘unfair method of competition.’

  • January 2022, Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ introduced the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act. Landmark legislation AT supported.

  • March 2022, President Biden calls for a ban on surveillance advertising to children in State of the Union.

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