Report: Meta Considering Europe Political Ads Ban

    Report: Meta Considering Europe Political Ads Ban
    Last updated Mar 30, 2023
    Image credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images [via The Guardian]


    • Amid concerns about complying with new EU regulations targeting online campaigns, Meta — Facebook and Instagram's parent company — is reportedly exploring changes to its policies surrounding political advertising for its users in Europe.[1]
    • EU policymakers have brought forward rules requiring tech companies to disclose information about political ads, including their cost, who paid for them, and how many users they reached. Meta is reportedly worried about how broad the definition of political ads may be.[2]
    • Though EU institutions appear in a broad consensus on defining political advertising as the promotion of a message by a "political actor or which is liable to influence the outcome of an election," the European Parliament isn't due to establish a final definition until June 5.[3]
    • Meta, and other tech companies, such as Twitter, have faced criticism for allegedly allowing users to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories after the 2016 US election.[2]
    • The potential companywide ban on political advertising comes as users are largely uninterested in such content, and revenues generated from political ads are small compared to Meta's wider business. From 2019-2020, the company generated under $800M, which is less than 1% of its total ad revenue.[3]
    • Meanwhile, as Meta faces a nearing compliance deadline for a pair of rulings — that saw the company fined around $410M for allegedly breaching the EU's General Data Protection Regulation — from the EU's privacy enforcement body, the tech giant announced that it had changed the legal basis on how it uses personal data to target advertising in the EU.[4]


    Narrative A

    This issue of social media fake news is not one of a few misinformed citizens expressing their ideas online, but rather of targeted and malicious "disinformation for hire," which domestic and foreign actors deliberately pay for to manipulate the national politics of sovereign states. This is why the EU has adopted its new Digital Services Act to demand multinational corporations finally combat the brainwashing attempts by such malevolent actors.

    Narrative B

    Most European countries have never genuinely valued free speech. Yet, Brussels is taking this attitude to a new level by imposing a radical censorship mechanism intended to force social media companies — through the Digital Services Act, among others — to follow an imposed ideological content-moderation policy. These laws aren't meant to protect Europeans from so-called dangerous speech, but speech that threatens the ruling class.

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