European Parliament approves initial proposal to ban certain targeted ads

On Thursday, the European Parliament voted to approve the first bill to curb Big Tech’s invasive advertising practices (via Bloomberg). Parliament passed the bill with 530 votes in favor, 78 against and 80 abstentions.

The Digital Services Act, which was first introduced in 2020, will prevent platforms, such as Google, Amazon and Meta-owned Facebook, from using sensitive information, such as sexual orientation, race and religion for targeted ads. This will require services to give users the ability to easily opt out of tracking and pressure platforms to remove illegal content and products online, including hate speech or counterfeit products.

“With a large majority, the European Parliament has passed the Digital Services Act,” Dutch politician and Member of Parliament Paul Tang wrote on Twitter. “A big win, with support from left to right.”

The approved proposal also includes two rules Parliament agreed to last month: a ban on both targeted ads for minors and dark models, a practice some platforms use to trick users into opting in to share their data. Any company that violates these policies could be subject to fines of up to 6% of its worldwide revenue.

As noted Bloomberg, the Digital Services Act still has other hurdles to overcome; negotiations with the European Council begin on January 31. US Democrats introduced a similar bill last week that would also ban targeted advertising if passed.


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