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Europe plans to bar Meta from using your personal data 

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Europe plans

Meta will require permission from its users to serve advertisements based on their personal data, if a confidential EU privacy body has its way.

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has issued the agency that overseas Meta one month to issue the ruling.

This is yet another blow for Meta. The company makes around 98% of its revenue from advertising, equating to $27.16 billion in the third quarter of 2022 alone.

Meta attracts advertisers due to its ability to specifically target users based on their geographical location, age, and interests. But the company has been forced to reduce a number of its targeting options recently.

This is to avoid advertisers from targeting users based on sexual orientation, health, religion, and a number of other personal characteristics.

But this recent move from the EDPB is just another blow for the social media giant. The company also having to weather Apple’s iOS 14 update that allowed users to opt out of off app tracking, further reducing the ability for advertisers to specifically target individuals with ads.

Providing users with further control over their personal data is another evolution in the data rights discussion. The issues has been raised in various articles and documentaries, including The Great Hack. 

If passed, Meta users will once again be faced with the million-dollar question. Would they prefer tailored ads or ads that may not be relevant?

While regulations around data privacy will continue to evolve, advertising will never cease. This is particularly true for Meta, which relies on advertising revenue for its existence.

Dr Karen Sutherland is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast where she designs and delivers social media education and research. Dr Sutherland is also the Co-Founder and Social Media Specialist at Dharana Digital marketing agency focused on helping people working in the health and wellness space.

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OpenAI to offer premium ChatGPT service

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OpenAI has announced a monthly plan that will give you priority access to the ChatGPT bot

ChatGPT Plus is set to cost $20/month, and allow a user the ability to use the chatbot even during peak times, where free users would have to wait.

The company also says the plan will give you “faster response times” and “priority access to new features and improvements.”

OpenAI will be sending out invitations for the service to people in the U.S. over the next few weeks, before expanding to other regions around the world.

This comes amid the company revealing that a mobile phone version of the chatbot is being developed.

Currently, it is only available as a computer program.

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Meta stocks soar in ‘Year of Efficiency’

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Meta Platforms has announced a better-than-expected sales quarter, as well as a USD$40 billion stock buyback.

The parent of Instagram and Facebook cut its cost outlook for 2023 by $5 billion, and projected first-quarter sales that could beat Wall Street estimates.

Meta stock surged nearly 19% in after-hours trade.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg described the focus on efficiency as part of the natural evolution of the company, calling it a “phase change” for an organisation that once lived by the motto “move fast and break things.”

“We just grew so quickly for like the first 18 years,” Zuckerberg said in a conference call. “It’s very hard to really crank on efficiency while you’re growing that quickly. I just think we’re in a different environment now.”

The cost cuts reflect Meta’s updated plans for lower data centre construction expenses this year.

In November, the company cut more than 11,000 jobs in response, a precursor to the tens of thousands of layoffs in the tech industry that followed.

“Our management theme for 2023 is the ‘Year of Efficiency’ and we are focused on becoming a stronger and more nimble organisation,” Zuckerberg said in a statement.

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U.S. Fed Reserve hikes interest rates by 25 basis points

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The U.S. Federal Reserve has announced its latest interest rate hike

 
The 25 basis-point increase comes after a half-point hike in December, and a three-quarter-point increase the month before that.

And it came with the forecast that the Fed isn’t finished.

“We will need substantially more evidence to be confident that inflation is on a sustained downward path,” U.S. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a press conference.

Powell noted positive signs that inflation was beginning to abate.

“We can now say I think for the first time that the disinflationary process has started, and we see it in goods prices, so far…but it is insufficient to signal an end to the rate hikes, though it would be stepping down from last year’s rapid pace of increases.”

Future rate increases would be in quarter-percentage-point increments.

“We will continue to make our decisions meeting by meeting, taking into account the totality of incoming data and their implications for the outlook for economic activity and inflation,” Powell added.

The decision lifted the benchmark overnight interest rate to a range between 4.50% and 4.75% – a move widely anticipated by investors and flagged by U.S. central bankers ahead of this week’s two-day policy session.

Inflation, based on the Fed’s preferred measure, slowed to a 5% annual rate in December.

The Fed hopes it can continue nudging inflation lower to its 2% target without triggering a deep recession or causing a substantial rise in the unemployment rate from the current 3.5%, a level rarely seen in recent decades.

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