European authorities are threatening to curb the way Facebook uses member information to target advertising. “The European Commission is planning to stop the way the Web site ‘eavesdrops’ on its users to gather information about their political opinions, sexuality, religious beliefs -- and even their whereabouts,” The Telegraph writes. “Using sophisticated software, the firm harvests information from people's activities on the social networking site -- whatever their individual privacy settings -- and make it available to advertisers.”
To date, the practices haven’t broken any laws. Yet, in response to privacy concerns over Facebook’s behavioral tracking practice, a pending EC Directive would ban such targeted advertising unless users specifically allow it. Viviane Reding, the vice president of European Commission, said the Directive would amend current European data protection laws in the light of technological advances.
Set to be introduced in January, the ban could set a precedent for other markets -- including the Unites States -- and certainly threaten Facebook's plans to go public in 2012.