Big Tech giants will be subject to new European Union (EU) regulations aimed at enhancing transparency surrounding political advertising on their platforms.
These rules require these tech companies to clearly disclose information about who paid for political ads, the amount spent, and which elections they target. The new regulations come in anticipation of crucial upcoming votes in the EU, scheduled for next year, reported Reuters.
EU member countries, in collaboration with the European Parliament, reached a consensus on these political advertising rules, which were finalized late on Monday. Notable tech companies, including Alphabet’s Google and Meta Platforms, will be held to higher standards of transparency and accountability under these regulations. Violating these EU rules could lead to fines of up to 6% of the annual turnover of the advertising provider.
One key provision of these regulations is the prohibition of third-country entities from sponsoring political advertising in the EU during the three months preceding an election or referendum. Additionally, these rules outlaw ads that engage in profiling based on attributes like ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.
MEP Sandro Gozi, a lawmaker who has spearheaded this initiative in the European Parliament, expressed, “The new rules will make it harder for foreign actors to spread disinformation and interfere in our free and democratic processes.” This measure is particularly relevant as the EU is concerned about safeguarding the integrity of its elections, especially with the European Parliament elections scheduled for June next year.
The proposal for these regulations was initially put forth by the European Commission last year. As part of these new rules, all online political advertisements will be accessible through an online ad repository. Gozi also highlighted that these regulations would create a conducive environment for transnational campaigning in the lead-up to the upcoming European Parliament elections.
With the European Parliament elections on the horizon, there is growing concern about the potential spread of disinformation and foreign interference, and these new regulations are seen as a crucial step in mitigating such risks.