We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

EU probes Meta’s political-content policies
Meta Dublin HQ Pic: RollingNews.ie

30 Apr 2024 / eu Print

EU probes Meta’s political-content policies

The European Commission has opened formal proceedings to assess whether Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, may have breached the Digital Services Act (DSA).

The commission says that the suspected infringements cover Meta's policies and practices on deceptive advertising and political content on its services.

The EU body says that it suspects that Meta does not comply with DSA obligations on the dissemination of deceptive advertisements and disinformation campaigns.

It also has concerns that Meta's policy on the ‘political-content approach' that demotes political content in the recommender systems of Instagram and Facebook – including their feeds – is not compliant with DSA obligations.

Monitoring tool

The commission’s actions are also linked to what the EU body describes as “the non-availability of an effective third-party real-time civic-discourse and election-monitoring tool ahead of the elections to the European Parliament, against the background of Meta's deprecation of its real-time public-insights tool CrowdTangle without an adequate replacement”.

The commission also has concerns that the mechanism for flagging illegal content on the Meta platforms, as well as the user-redress and internal-complaint mechanisms, are not compliant with the requirements of the DSA.

It adds that it also sees shortcomings in Meta's provision of access to publicly available data to researchers.

Formal requests

The opening of proceedings is based on a preliminary analysis of a risk-assessment report sent by Meta in September 2023, as well as the technology giant’s replies to the commission's formal requests for information on several topics.

The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that it had created ways of protecting European citizens from targeted disinformation and manipulation by third countries.

“If we suspect a violation of the rules, we act. This is true at all times, but especially in times of democratic elections,” she added.

No deadline

After the formal opening of proceedings, the commission can continue to gather evidence, by sending additional requests for information, or conducting interviews and inspections.

The EU body can take further enforcement steps, such as interim measures, and non-compliance decisions, while it can also accept commitments made by Meta to remedy the issues raised in the proceedings.

The DSA does not set any legal deadline for bringing formal proceedings to an end.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland