An overwhelming majority of the European Parliament voted today in favour of a new regulation requiring more transparency of political ads on social media, and limiting tracking and targeting. MEP Paul Tang, who negotiated the law on behalf of the S&D-group in the LIBE-committee, is excited it passed: “In a proper functioning democracy, everyone should be able to have equal access to information political parties share. Segmentation with different messages for different groups contributes to polarisation and increases the risk of discrimination.”
The political advertising regulation ensures that in the 60 days before elections, political parties are only allowed to target their online ads based on location and language. Outside election time, political ads may only be targeted based on data provided by the voter itself and the target audience of the ad must always cover at least 50,000 people.
Paul Tang: “As it should be in a democracy, the voter decides. That applies to which party you vote for and that applies to what personal data of you political parties are allowed to use. This new law forces political parties to set a good example.”
Tang continues: “Political parties are trapped in a rat race online, in which collecting more personal data to target advertisements is incentivized. That rat race will finally stop once this law is passed.”
The parliamentary position adopted today will be its starting point for for the so-called “trilogues” with the Council of the European Union. Those negotiations are expected to start soon, ensuring the law will enter into force on April 1st 2024, just before the next European elections.