Italian gendarme asks Facebook for clarification on pre-election activities


MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Data Protection Agency has asked Facebook to clarify the social media giant’s activities ahead of Sunday’s national elections, it said on Thursday.

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

The initiative, which Meta says aims to counter interference and remove content that discourages voting, includes working with independent fact-checking organizations and using a virtual operations center to identify potential threats in real time.

Facebook will have to provide “detailed information” about the initiative, the nature of the data processing, as well as the measures taken to ensure that the initiative is only brought to people aged eighteen or over, said the watchdog.

A spokesperson for Meta said that “the company’s Italian election tools have been expressly designed to respect user 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 the Italian election and to connect people with reliable election information from the Ministry of Interior,” said the spokesperson.

(Reporting by Federico Maccioni and Elvira Pollina, editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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