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Meta Platforms and restrictions in the EU

Meta Platforms, the US company that operates the social networks Facebook and Instagram, is facing an advertising ban in the EU. This is due to its specific form, so-called targeted advertising. The ban on targeted advertising, which targets users by collecting their personal data, is more than a complication for Meta. The US company has long resisted efforts to restrict the practice, mainly because advertising on its social networks is its main source of revenue.

Meta's business model under threat

Meta's core business model is to offer free social networking services and sell advertising to companies and individuals who want to reach users of those social networks.

Over the past year, Meta generated $113 billion in advertising revenue globally.  That's a jump from 2020, when Meta's ad revenue "only" reached $85 billion. In 2021, ad revenue was the highest ever, at $115 billion.1

The European market is the second most lucrative region for Meta, after North America. According to Meta Platforms' CFO, Susan Li, advertising revenue in the European Union accounts for roughly ten percent of the company's total business.2

 

The EU is on Meta's back

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has agreed to extend a ban previously imposed by non-EU Norway to all 30 countries in the European Union and European Economic Area.

The EDPB's decision directs the Irish Data Protection Authority, where Meta is based, to impose a permanent ban on the firm within two weeks for using this so-called behavioural advertising. Meta has said it is cooperating with European authorities on the matter, and a spokesman for the company said

"this development unjustifiably ignores a careful and thorough regulatory process".

With its plan, Meta is attempting to circumvent EU regulations that go towards limiting its ability to tailor ads to users without their consent, thus damaging its main source of revenue.

 

Meta Platforms' response

Meta has responded to the European authority's regulation by referring to its earlier announcement that it will give users in the EU and EEA the ability to consent to targeted advertising and will offer an ad-free subscription model in November to comply with regulatory requirements.

Offering a choice between a free service with ads and a paid option could lead to users opting for the former. This would help Meta comply with EU regulations without affecting its advertising activities.

Meta has told regulators that in addition to the ten euros per month for a desktop account, users can pay six euros for each linked account. On mobile devices, the price would climb to roughly 13 euros per month, due to taking into account commissions charged by the App Store and Google Play.

 

Snímek obrazovky 2023-11-22 v 12.10.40

Meta Platforms' share price evolution over the last 5 years. (Source: Tradingview.com) *

Conclusion:

It's undeniable that Meta, the operator of one of the most popular social networks, has a lot going for it. But not everything. The European regulator wants to restrict its main revenue stream. However, the fact that the company generates most of its advertising revenue outside EU jurisdiction, and its European revenue is only 10% of the total, will not put the company at risk. Additionally, Meta has introduced paid packages for users to "avoid" EU regulators. Depending on the popularity of this paid alternative with European users, Meta may even be able to make up some of the shortfall in advertising revenue within the EU single market.

Adam Austera, principal analyst at Ozios

* Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Disclaimer:

The material herein is considered as marketing communication under the relevant laws and regulations, and as such is not a subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and should not be construed as containing investment advice, or an investment recommendation, or an offer of or solicitation for any transactions in financial instruments. The published content is intended for educational/informational purposes only. It does not take into account readers’ financial situation, personal experience or investment objectives. APME FX Trading Europe Ltd makes no representation that the information provided is accurate, current or complete; and therefore, assumes no liability for any losses arising from investments based on the supplied content. The past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

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