The Spanish Data Protection Agency orders a precautionary measure against Meta and the use of data on its platforms

The use of Big Dataartificial intelligence and social media posts in electoral processes they can lead to manipulation, something that has been proven in the past. With this in mind, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD), through Circular 1/2019 on the processing of personal data related to political opinions and sending electoral propaganda, indicates that only political opinions that have been collected may be collected. have been expressed freely and that, in no case, may other types of personal data be processed from which, by applying technologies such as massive data processing or artificial intelligence, it can be to infer a person's political ideology.

With this in mind, the AEPD has ordered a precautionary measure against Meta (read WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram) so that, “immediately and in view of the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, suspended in Spanish territory the implementation of the functionalities Election Day Information (EDI) and Voter Information Unit (VIU)and the collection and processing of data that their use implies,” says the agency itself.

These functionalities are planned to be launched for all users of its services with the right to vote in the European elections, with the exception of Italy, whose data protection authority already has an open procedure ongoing on this matter.

The agency orders this measure considering that “the data processing planned by the company involves an action contrary to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which, at the very least, would breach the data protection principles of legality, data minimization and limitation of the retention period,” the statement adds.

Through these two functionalities, which consist of providing information to Facebook and Instagram users about the EU electionsMeta intends to process personal data such as, among others, user name, IP address, age and gender or information about how you interact with those functionalities.

The Agency considers that the company's planned data collection and retention would seriously jeopardize the rights and freedoms of Instagram and Facebook users, who would see increased the volume of information it collects about them, allowing the creation of more complex, detailed and exhaustive profiles, and generating more intrusive treatments. This loss of control represents a high risk that these data will be used by unknown parties and for non-explicit purposes.

For its part, the European Commission announced at the end of April the opening of a procedure against Meta to analyze, among other points, aspects such as disinformation, the visibility of political content and the monitoring tools for the aforementioned elections, within the framework of the Digital Services Regulation.