UPDATED: Meta explores changes to ad policies in Europe

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March 30 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc META.O is exploring changes to its policies around personalized and political advertising for users in Europe, according to media reports, as it aims to limit the impact of upcoming European Union regulations on its ad business.

Meta executives are discussing a ban on political ads in Europe due to concerns that Facebook and Instagram will be unable to comply with the new EU regulations targeting online campaigns, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

The executives fear the definition of political ads under EU plans will be so broad that it will be easier to refuse all paid-for political campaigns on the company’s sites, the report said, citing two people briefed on the discussions.

Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal report said Meta may allow European users of Facebook and Instagram to opt out of certain highly personalized ads, and offer a version of its services that would only target them with ads based on broad categories.

The potential policy tweak may happen as Meta faces a compliance deadline for a pair of rulings from Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which leads enforcement of the EU’s main privacy law for the company, according to the WSJ report.

The European Commission last December warned Meta that it was breaching EU antitrust laws by imposing unfair trading conditions on competing online classified ads services that advertise on Facebook and Instagram.

EU lawmakers in February agreed to tougher rules on targeted political advertising, aimed at countering misinformation during elections. The proposed rules require U.S. tech giants to provide more data on their targeted political ads, and impose fines up to 4% of their global turnover for breaches.

Meta did not respond to requests from Reuters for comments on the two reports.

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