Brussels wants to make online political advertising more transparent

The European Commission has announced new measures to make online political advertising more transparent.

The plans are designed to force online platforms, like Facebook, to clearly label paid political advertising, or face fines.

According to Věra Jourová, vice-president of the European Commission, who presented the proposals on Thursday, online advertising is becoming an “uncontrolled race of dirty methods”.

“Once this law is passed, users will be able to clearly distinguish advertisements from organic content, as paid content will be clearly labeled,” Jourová told reporters. “Citizens will be able to know why they are seeing an ad, who paid for it and what data was used to target them.”

Big tech companies should reveal what data was used and refrain from using sensitive data to target people with political ads.

Some have criticized the initiative as a dangerous step that would create a “European ministry of truth”, but for Doru Frantescu of Votewatch Europe, this is an unwarranted concern.

“No concrete mechanism is proposed that would endanger freedom of expression,” Frantescu told Euronews.

“I think we’re going to end up with some sort of flexible mechanism, gentle co-regulation between authorities and platforms to ensure that the content is not deceptive or manipulative, and transparent as to who has it. published. “

Rules on political advertising must be approved by both the European Parliament and the Council and are expected to enter into force by 2024.

According to the European Commission, the plan is part of a broader crackdown on tech giants to protect democracy and comes just weeks after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen made new allegations of wrongdoing.

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