EU restricts online political advertising. If Facebook and Google do not follow, face without problems

Concerned about the abuse of political ads to undermine elections, the European Union announced on Thursday plans to help people better understand when they are watching such ads online and who is responsible for them. Did.

Proposals aimed at ensuring fair and transparent polls and referendums use sensitive personal data such as ethnic origin, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation without the permission of the public. It also bans political targeting and “amplification techniques” used to reach a larger audience.

“Digital advertising for political purposes is becoming an unidentified competition in a dirty and opaque way,” said Vice-President of the European Commission, Bella Jouroba. “Myriad data analytics and carriers are using our data every day to find the best way to buy something, vote for someone, or convince them not to vote at all. . “

She needs to know why people are “seeing ads, who paid for them, how much, and which micro-targeting criteria were used. New technology isn’t for operation, but for operation. It should be a tool for liberation. “

The Commission, the EU’s governing body, expects 27 Member States and the European Parliament to discuss and approve national legislative proposals by 2023 in time for the next year’s elections across Europe.

Companies like Facebook and Google, the two biggest players in the digital advertising industry, will be fined if they don’t comply.

Faced with intense criticism of the lack of transparency in political advertising, Facebook welcomed the move.

“We have long called for EU-wide regulation of political advertising, and we are pleased that the Commission’s proposal addresses some of the more difficult issues, especially with regard to cross-border advertising.” The company, which was recently renamed Meta, said: Press statement.

Google said in a blog post that it supported the proposal and recommended that the Commission clearly define political advertising and clarify the tech platform and advertiser responsibilities while keeping the rules flexible.

Twitter, which banned all political ads in 2019, believes that “political reach needs to be acquired rather than bought” and limits micro-targeting from other types of ads, such as cause-based ads. And also mentioned that it was deleted.

The EU plan should clearly label political ads, prominently display the sponsor’s name, and display a transparency notice explaining where the cost of the ad and its payments came from. .. The material requires a relevant vote or a direct link to the vote.

Information must be available on why individuals or groups of people are targeted for advertising, and what amplification tools are used to help sponsors reach a larger audience. .. If such criteria are not met, advertising will be banned.

“Confidential data that people decide to share with friends on social media cannot be used to target them for political purposes,” Joroba told reporters. “Companies like Facebook can publicly say who they’re targeting, why, how, or they can’t.”

This system is monitored by the respective data protection authorities of EU member states. National authorities must impose “effective, proportional and compelling fines” if the rules are violated. EU restricts online political advertising. If Facebook and Google do not follow, face without problems

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