Facebook faced criticism for lack of transparency on political ads

Facebook ads: The European Union on Thursday presented proposals to assist consumers better understanding when they are seeing political adverts online and who is responsible for them, in response to concerns about the misuse of political advertising to undermine elections.

Aside from banning political targeting and “amplification tactics” that exploit sensitive personal data like ethnic origin, religious views, or sexual orientation without the consent of citizens, the recommendations are aimed at assuring fair and transparent polls or referendums.

EU Vice-President Vera Jourova warned that political advertising on digital platforms is “becoming an unregulated race of filthy and opaque means.” There are several data analytics and communication corporations that work every day with our data to attempt to find out how to persuade us to buy something, vote for someone, or not vote at all.”

‘People must know why they are seeing an advertising, who paid for it and how much,’ she added. When it comes to technology, it should be a tool for empowerment rather than control.

For Europe-wide elections to be held in 2023, EU officials expect that all 27 EU nations, as well as the European Parliament, have considered and voted on the proposals before then.

Failure to comply might result in sanctions for major participants in the digital advertising business like Facebook and Google.

Social media giant Facebook, which has been widely criticised for its lack of openness in political advertising, applauded the new rules.

“We have long urged for EU-wide regulation on political advertising and are glad that the Commission’s proposal addresses some of the most complex concerns, in particular when it comes to cross-border advertising,” the business, which just rebranded itself, Meta, said in a press release.

A Google blog post stated that the company welcomed the recommendations and advised that the commission clearly define political ads and explain out duties for digital platforms and advertisers while yet keeping the regulations flexible. Google claimed this in the blog post.

When it comes to political commercials, Twitter believes that “political reach should be earned, not purchased,” and it has also prohibited micro-targeting in other sorts of ads, such as cause-based ones.

For example, as part of the EU proposal, political adverts would have to include a transparency notice explaining how much money was spent on the advertisement and where that money originated from. The information provided must be directly related to the vote or poll in question.

People and groups should know why they’re being targeted by advertising and what amplification tactics are employed in order for the sponsor to reach a larger audience. If these standards aren’t satisfied, then advertisements will be prohibited.

Social media users’ “sensitive data” cannot be used to target them for political goals, Jourova stated. In her words, corporations like Facebook “either can do it or won’t be able to do it” when it comes to disclosing who they are targeting, why, and how.

European Union data protection authorities will monitor and audit the system. National authorities would be compelled to levy sanctions that are “effective, reasonable, and deterrent” if the restrictions are violated.

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