France/Germany: Small businesses want EU to crack down on intrusive advertising from Google and Facebook – new study

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  • YouGov poll finds small business owners uncomfortable with Facebook and Google tracking-based advertising

Small business owners in France and Germany want alternatives to Facebook and Google’s mainstream tracking-based advertising, according to new research commissioned by Amnesty International and Global Witness.

Ahead of a key EU vote this week aimed at imposing tougher rules on tracking-based digital advertising, a poll of small and medium-sized business leaders in both countries found that 75% believed that tracking-based advertising tracking undermined the privacy of people and other human beings. rights.

A total of 69% of business owners surveyed said that while they were uncomfortable with the influence of Facebook and Google, they felt they had no choice but to to advertise with them due to their dominance in the industry.

The constant and invasive surveillance of our lives to target people with ads is unacceptable.

Claudia Prettner, Legal and Policy Advisor at Amnesty Tech

The survey results, from a poll of more than 600 people by YouGov, come ahead of this week’s plenary vote by the European Parliament on the Digital Services Act, with MPs considering tougher rules for tracking-based advertising.

“The constant and invasive surveillance of our lives to target people with ads is unacceptable, destroys our right to privacy and fuels discrimination,” said Claudia Prettner, legal and policy adviser at Amnesty Tech.

“These results show that business owners are extremely uncomfortable with the tracking-based approach to advertising that their customers are currently experiencing.

“This week’s plenary vote on the Digital Services Act represents a vital opportunity for MEPs to stand up for human rights and take action to tackle advertising practices that rely on intrusive surveillance.”

Alternative solutions now needed

Ahead of this week’s vote, Facebook and other industry leaders underlined their belief that targeted advertising is necessary for the survival of Europe’s small and medium-sized businesses.

But the survey showed that 79% of respondents believe that big online platforms – such as Facebook and Google – should face increased regulation of how they use personal data to target users when advertising. in line.

The survey also showed that business owners thought their customers were not comfortable being targeted by online ads based on their race or ethnicity (62%), sexual orientation ( 66%), information about their health (67%), their religious views (65%), their political views (65%) or personal events in their life (62%).

“It’s part of Facebook and Google’s lobbying manual to use small businesses’ reliance on their services as a fig leaf to justify their invasive profiling and targeting of users for advertising,” said Nienke Palstra, campaign manager on digital threats to democracy at Global Witness. .

“In fact, our survey shows that small business owners in France and Germany are deeply suspicious of their ad tech practices, but see no alternative. Given the overwhelming support from small businesses to regulate giants advertising technology, MPs have every reason to go further in the Digital Services Act and protect individuals from surveillance advertising.

The latest findings confirm Global Witness’ previous poll conducted in February 2021 which investigated the attitudes of French and German social media users towards targeted advertising. These results overwhelmingly showed that people are deeply uncomfortable with how they are targeted by advertisers on a daily basis, whether it’s being ranked by income and religious views or events. of life such as pregnancy, bereavement or illness.


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