EU promotes transparency over political ads on social media

The EU will publish draft legislation aimed at restricting the use of social media methods such as micro-targeting and user profiling by forcing tech groups to share information about how they disseminate advertising and targeting online citizens.

The rules will cause Facebook and Google likers to disclose the parameters they use to determine who sees political ads online, including categories of personal data used to “target and amplify”, the objective and duration of the ad campaign.

Technology teams will be required to disclose the number of individuals targeted by ads and the source of personal data used, including whether the information was collected directly, inferred or collected from third parties. , a draft document showed Tuesday.

The classified document warns that the way major online platforms use citizens’ data to target them with political ads has had a “negative impact” on the “right to freedom of opinion and information”. them, to make political decisions and exercise their voting rights”.

The news comes as pressure mounts to make political advertising more transparent over concerns that citizens are being targeted without their knowledge or consent.

Vera Jourova, vice-president of the European Commission for Values ​​and Transparency, this month told an audience in Lisbon that digital advertising for political purposes “is an uncontrolled race of methods. dirty and unclear law”.

“We have to hit the ‘slow down’ button, because our democracy is so precious,” she said. “The right to speak does not mean access.”

The rules would make political parties label their ads and force companies working on so-called problem-based advertising to clearly identify which political party is funding an ad. .

The regulation is expected to come into force before the current European parliament ends in 2024. Tougher regulations will force scammers to use online media accounts on networks like Twitter to determine who is sponsoring their content.

Companies that violate the rules face fines of up to 5% of revenue under the privacy rules applied in the block, the draft proposals say. Enforcement will be left to the national authorities, although the commission can play an important role.

Once the draft law is published, the text will be discussed among member states, parliament and the commission in a “dialogue” discussion.

Curbing the way major online platforms treat political advertising is part of a broader movement in Brussels to address the power of Big Tech.

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