As the proposed Political Advertising regulation is soon due to be voted on in two critical committees of the European Parliament, lobbying efforts are underway to narrow the text’s scope.
The push is driven by Google and the tech trade association DOT Europe, which have both sent emails, seen by EURACTIV, to EU lawmakers. The emails call for changes to the text over what they say are concerns that the regulation’s scope may be broad enough also to include the communications and opinions of political parties and citizens.
The regulation was proposed by the Commission at the end of 2020 as part of its Democracy Action Plan. Aimed at boosting political advertising transparency and tackling disinformation in election campaigns, the regulation was intended to be put in place ahead of the next European elections, set for spring 2024.
In their emails to the lawmaker, both Google and DOT Europe, of which the tech company is a member, express concerns about the potential impact of the regulation on political expression online.
According to a representative of Google, the proposal’s definition of both “political” and “advertising” are so wide that “a huge amount of content on online platforms would unjustly be captured” by it.
The EU Commission’s original and broad definition of political advertising was concerning, Google says, as it encompassed paid-for user-generated content, which could be taken to include any paid content considered to be even indirectly influencing an election.