The organisation aims to fully enforce the new laws by spring 2023, a year before the European Parliament elections


EU set to introduce new laws on political advertising. (Credit: almathias from Pixabay)

The European Union (EU) has revealed plans to address the issue of misusing political advertising on online platforms to undermine elections by introducing new laws on political advertising, electoral rights, and party funding.

Under the proposed rules, any political advertisement will have to be labelled clearly as such apart from disclosing information such as who sponsored it and for what amount.

The EU said that political targeting and amplification methods have to be publicly explained in detail and will be banned when there is any use of sensitive personal data without taking permission of the individual.

EU Values and Transparency Vice-President Vera Jourová said: “Elections must not be a competition of opaque and non-transparent methods. People must know why they are seeing an ad, who paid for it, how much, what micro-targeting criteria were used.

“New technologies should be tools for emancipation, not for manipulation. This ambitious proposal will bring unprecedented level of transparency to political campaigning and limit the opaque targeting techniques.”

The EU said that as the shift to the digital world is going on, the public should be in a position to distinguish easily if they are viewing paid political advertising, offline and online. The people should be able to take part in open debates that are free from disinformation, interference, as well as manipulation, said the EU.

The organisation said that the key measures outlined in its proposed regulation on transparency and targeting of political advertising are the scope of ads, transparency labels, strict conditions for targeting and amplification, and fines for breaches.

As per the proposed regulation, National Data Protection Authorities will be responsible for specifically monitoring the use of personal data in political targeting and will have the authority to put fines in accordance with the EU data protection rules.

The proposals are set to be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council. The aim of the discussions will be to fully enforce them by spring 2023, a year before the European Parliament elections.

Google Europe, Middle East and Africa president Matt Brittin in an official company blog wrote: “We share the Commission’s goal of increasing the harmonization of Europe’s transparency rules for political advertising and we support today’s introduction of legislation.

“As we expand our own efforts, we look forward to engaging with the Commission on how best to meet the goals laid out by the Democracy Action Plan and Digital Services Act.”