Spain bans Facebook and Instagram’s election tools ahead of EU Parliament election

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Meta was planning on introducing two election-centric tools for the EU Parliament election in June. However, Spain has blocked Meta from rolling the features out on Facebook and Instagram in the country.

Data protection agency AEPD used its powers from the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to ban Election Day information and Voter Information tools on the two social media platforms for up to three months.

Meta was planning to launch these tools ahead of the European Parliament election. The company stated that the tools were designed to comply with the GDPR, and while it disagrees with the AEPD’s stance, it reportedly will comply with the order.

The data protection agency was scrutinizing the way Meta planned to process the data in the tools. It also said that there was no justification for collecting age data, and it criticized Meta’s intent to retain the data after the election in June.

Meta also planned to process user interactions with the two election tools, as well as gender information. The Data Protection agency argues that this could put the risk of rights and freedoms of Instagram and FB users, and would increase the volume of info collected about them for more detailed profiles.

The watchdog also claims that Meta will identify users as eligible voters based on IP addresses and profile data about where they live. However, to vote in the election you need to be an adult national of any EU member state. Therefore the agency argues that Meta’s approach targets non-EU citizens who happen to live in member countries, while it leaves out EU citizens who currently don’t live in Europe.


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