In Australia, Meta Makes Big Claims on Targeted Advertising

Rys Farthing is Policy Director and Alice Dawkins is Executive Director of Reset.Tech Australia. Meta has been picking up the pace in Australia. The company recently flew out its US-based privacy executive for a raft of engagements, in an attempt to sweeten Australian lawmakers up to its preferred position on the country’s extensive privacy reforms.  Meta’s recent gestures have been demonstrably more restrained since its brazen campaign two years ago against Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code. Meta’s strategy included causing deliberate chaos across the nation’s newsfeeds in an act that some lawyers have argued was illegal. Far from a regional office gone rogue, the campaign had the attention and involvement of the company’s leadership. As the Wall Street Journal reported, then COO Sheryl Sandberg praised the “the thoughtfulness of the strategy, precision of execution, and ability to stay nimble as things evolved”, even designating it as “set[ting] a new high-standard” for the company’s advocacy activities.  Governments worldwide have taken a different view. Meta’s behavior over the News Media Bargaining Code caught the attention of concerned policymakers worldwide. In March of this year, a key Canadian parliamentary committee voted to launch a ‘study’ on “[Big Tech’s] ongoing use of intimidation and subversion tactics to avoid regulation in Canada and across the world,” explicitly referring to Australia’s experience. The early stages of Meta’s public campaign against the stronger parts of Australia’s Privacy Act reforms suggests a more circumspect approach – at least initially. The company is engaging proactively with the media, leading…In Australia, Meta Makes Big Claims on Targeted Advertising