redletterdave writes: "The European Commission plans to put a stop to the way Facebook gathers information about its users, including their political opinions, religious beliefs, whereabouts and sexual preferences, and how the social network sells that information for commercial purposes. A new EC Directive aims to ban targeted advertising unless users specifically allow it, and amend the current European data protection laws to ensure consistency in how offending sites are dealt with across the EU. If the European Commission has its way, Facebook would suffer big losses in advertising dollars that fund its site, which would further damage the company's plans to go public next year. Facebook has defended itself, claiming its advertisers target wide demographics like age and location, rather than specific individuals. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company denies outright that it misuses or mishandles user information."