Italian watchdog asks Facebook for clarification on pre-election activities

Italian watchdog asks Facebook for clarification on pre-election activities

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s data protection agency has asked Facebook (Nasdaq) to clarify the activities the social media giant was involved in ahead of Sunday’s national elections, the Italian data protection agency said on Thursday.

Tech giant Meta, which owns social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, has launched a media campaign targeting potential Italian voters ahead of the parliamentary elections called for September 25.

The initiative, which Meta says is aimed at countering interference and removing content that discourages voting, includes collaborating with independent fact-checking organizations and using a Virtual Operations Center to identify potential threats in real time.

The watchdog said Facebook would have to provide “detailed information” about the initiative, the nature of data processing, as well as measures taken to ensure the initiative is only offered to people eighteen or older.

A Meta spokesperson said that “the company’s Italian election tools are expressly designed to respect users’ privacy and comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).”

“We are cooperating with the Italian Data Protection Authority to explain how we are working to help protect the integrity of Italian elections and to connect people to reliable election information from the Ministry of the Interior,” the spokesperson said.

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