Europe’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, set for expanded role in next Commission

As the antitrust investigations stack up on US tech giants’ home turf there’s no sign of pressure letting up across the pond. European Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen today unveiled her picks for the next team of commissioners who will take up their mandates on November 1 — giving an expanded role to competition […]

Europe’s top court sharpens guidance for sites using leaky social plug-ins

Europe’s top court has made a ruling that could affect scores of websites that embed the Facebook ‘Like’ button and receive visitors from the region. The ruling by the Court of Justice of the EU states such sites are jointly responsible for the initial data processing — and must either obtain informed consent from site […]

EU-US Privacy Shield legal showdown now set for July 9

A legal challenge to a data transfer mechanism that’s used by thousands of companies to authorize taking European citizens’ personal data to the US for processing has been delayed. As we reported last month, the General Court of the EU had set a date of July 1 and 2 to hear the complaint brought by […]

When it comes to elections, Facebook moves slow, may still break things

This week, Facebook invited a small group of journalists — which didn’t include TechCrunch — to look at the “war room” it has set up in Dublin, Ireland, to help monitor its products for election-related content that violates its policies. (“Time and space constraints” limited the numbers, a spokesperson told us when he asked why […]

EU gov’t and public health sites are lousy with adtech, study finds

A study of tracking cookies running on government and public sector health websites in the European Union has found commercial adtech to be operating pervasively even in what should be core not-for-profit corners of the Internet. The researchers used searches including queries related to HIV, mental health, pregnancy, alcoholism and cancer to examine how frequently […]

Facebook urged to offer an API for political ad transparency research

Facebook has been called upon to provide good faith researchers with an API to enable them to study how political ads are spreading and being amplified on its platform. A coalition of European academics, technologists and human and digital rights groups, led by Mozilla, has signed an open letter to the company demanding far greater […]

Facebook, Google and Twitter told to do more to fight fake news ahead of European elections

A first batch of monthly progress reports from tech giants and advertising companies on what they’re doing to help fight online disinformation have been published by the European Commission. Platforms including Facebook, Google and Twitter signed up to a voluntary EU code of practice on the issue last year. The first reports cover measures taken […]

Facebook is launching political ad checks in Nigeria, Ukraine, EU and India in coming months

Facebook is launching some of its self-styled ‘election security’ initiatives into more markets in the coming months ahead of several major votes in countries around the world. In an interview with Reuters the social networking giant confirmed it’s launching checks on political adverts on its platform in Nigeria, Ukraine and the European Union, reiterating too that […]

Google lays outs narrow “EU election advertiser” policy ahead of 2019 vote

Google has announced its plan for combating election interference in the European Union, ahead of elections next May when up to 350 million voters across the region will vote to elect 705 Members of the European Parliament. In a blog post laying out a narrow approach to democracy-denting disinformation, Google says it will introduce a […]

Facebook under pressure over Soros smear tactics

Facebook is facing calls to conduct an external investigation into its own lobbying and PR activities by an aide to billionaire George Soros. BuzzFeed reports that Michael Vachon, an advisor to the chairman at Soros Fund Management, made the call in a letter to friends and colleagues. The call follows an explosive investigation, published yesterday […]