The European Union expects to regulate online behavioral targeting next year, as protests over privacy concerns are stirring a potential backlash against recent marketing enhancements by social networks like Facebook. Reuters reported that the EU's data protection commission, known as the Article 29 Working Party, is preparing to devote time to the kinds of information websites maintain about their users. Late last month, the U. Federal Trade Commission also began discussions with the online ad industry about its problems with behavioral targeting.
The EU's move comes as a storm of protest has erupted over new behavioral marketing initiatives from Facebook. The social net has found itself the focus of opposition over Beacon, a feature of its SocialAds program. Some charge Beacon violates users' privacy because Facebook members' purchases made on the social net's marketing partner sites are included in other members' news feeds. Facebook defends the Beacon by saying that the information is only open to members' Facebook friends and members can opt-out of the programme.