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Instagram and Facebook electoral tools are blocked in Spain

Spain's data protection agency has ordered the provisional suspension of two Meta products planned to be deployed in the upcoming European elections on its social media platforms Instagram and Facebook, the organization said on Friday (31).

The tools, called “Election Day Information” (EDI) and “Voter Information Unit” (VIU), would potentially violate Spain's data protection regulation (GDPR), the AEPD agency said.

“Our election tools are expressly designed to respect users’ privacy and comply with GDPR. While we disagree with the AEPD’s assessment in this case, we cooperate with their request,” a Meta spokesperson told Reuters.

According to the agency, Meta said it intends for all eligible Instagram and Facebook users in the European Union to receive notifications from VIU and EDI reminding them to vote.

“The data processing envisaged by Meta would be contrary to Spanish data protection regulations and, at a minimum, would violate the data protection principles of legality, data minimization and limitation of retention period,” the AEPD said in a statement.

The regulator added that Meta was selecting eligible voters based on data contained in users' profiles about their city of residence as well as their IP addresses.

But the only condition to be able to vote in European elections is to be an adult citizen of any of the EU member states.

The EDPS said this data processing was “unnecessary, disproportionate and excessive” because it left out EU citizens living abroad and targeted citizens of non-EU countries who were in Europe.

The agency added that collecting data on users' ages was not justified as there was no reliable mechanism to verify users' self-declared ages, and that the processing of interaction data was “totally disproportionate to the purported purpose of inform about the elections”.

The watchdog said Meta had not justified the need to store the data after the election, which “reveals an additional purpose for the processing operation”.

Source: CNN Brasil

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