Demand Transparency in Political Advertising Law

Target: Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

Goal: Promote transparency in political advertising within the European Union.

European regulators are in the process of preparing the final text of a new law targeting the scope and practice of online political advertising. The proposed regulation, Transparency and Targeting of Political Advertising (TTPA), intends to ensure optimum accountability in political promotions. However, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) points out several key areas of improvement in the upcoming legislation. The law, put to practice, could be a game-changer in the upcoming 2024 European Parliament elections. The ripple effect of the said regulation could have cross-border implications, including in the United States of America. TTPA plans to make several advancements in the existing digital advertising framework, but there is a risk of unintended consequences leading to suppression of free speech.

The current draft of the TTPA largely utilizes generic definitions that leave much room for interpretation. For example, it defines political advertising as any unspecified content that can influence voting behavior or a regulatory process. Without specificity, the loose definition can include organic content, anti-climate change posts, or commercial ads promoting social diversity. Such broad premises can be misappropriated by law enforcement as well as by political parties. In addition, the current draft deliberates on an exemption for ‘purely private’ or ‘purely commercial’ advertising, which could be exploited by bad actors.

Furthermore, TTPA wants to empower users by furnishing the authority to flag and report content based on ‘non-compliance with the law.’ Again, such obscurity would make it difficult for the private citizen, unlearned in the details of the legal framework, to decide on the right action. Not only that, TTPA would require advertisers to respond within a brief window of 48 hours. This could be extremely difficult practically and has the potential for misjudgment.

The planned changes in the existing ad governance structure could be disruptive to the point of disguised intent. It can have a misplaced effect on the entire digital marketing ecosystem, involving both paid and organic content. Also, online publishers are at a greater risk of misjudged liability. Sign this petition to urge the European Commission to prepare a more detailed and explanatory final text for TTPA.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Von der Leyen,

Co-legislators are in the process of finalizing the draft for Transparency and Targeting of Political Advertising (TTPA). Made into law, TTPA can have a vital impact on the 2024 European Parliament elections.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) has pointed out that the existing TTPA draft is ambivalent about such core definitions as what is ‘political advertising’ or ‘non-compliance with the law.’

In the absence of a clear text, TTPA leaves room for misinterpretation, misjudgment, and unfair use. It can have a misplaced effect on the fundamental ethos of democracy that the law plans to promote.

The proposed regulation could be a game-changer in political ad management across the entire digital ecosystem. President Von der Leyen, we urge you to look into this matter with critical clarity and oversight.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Andrew Neel


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