On Thursday, the European Parliament voted to approve the first draft bill that aims to curb Big Tech’s invasive advertising practices (via Bloomberg). Parliament passed the draft with 530 votes in favour, 78 against and 80 absent.
First introduced in 2020, the Digital Services Act will prevent Meta-owned platforms such as Google, Amazon and Facebook from using sensitive information, such as sexual orientation, race and religion, for targeted advertising. Services will be needed that allow users to easily opt-out of tracking and pressure platforms to remove illegal content and products online, including hate speech or counterfeit goods.
“The European Parliament has passed the Digital Services Act by a huge majority,” wrote Dutch politician and MP Paul Tang on Twitter. “A big win, with support from left to right.”
The approved proposal also includes two rules that Parliament agreed to last month: a ban on both targeted advertising to minors and dark cartridges, a practice some platforms use to trick users into agreeing to share their data. Any company that violates this policy could face fines of up to six percent of its worldwide sales.
As noted by Bloomberg, the Digital Services Act still has more hurdles to overcome; negotiations with the European Council will start on 31 January. US Democrats introduced a similar bill last week, which would also ban targeted advertising if passed.