A third of users of social networks do not identify the misleading advertising shown on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, according to a study published today by the European Commission (EC).
In 36% of the cases analyzed, the individuals who participated in the EC’s “Study of advertising behavior and online social media marketing practices” were not able to identify the so-called “native advertising”, ie, that whose content imitates the publications generated by users without commercial intentions.
Participants also failed to distinguish between content for commercial and non-profit purposes when the messages included a reference to what was content sponsored, the report adds.
“This study presents evidence of the concerns we already had about advertising on social networks, some of the techniques used are disloyal and manipulative and we simply would not allow them in the world outside the internet,” said the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová.
The community responsible for Consumption added that it will deal with the case with the national authorities of the Member States of the European Union to determine if “coordinated action” is necessary throughout the Union.
“Online or offline, companies should not cheat consumers unfairly,” Jourová said in a statement released alongside the study.
Jourová gave a three-month ultimatum to Facebook on September 20, in particular, to adapt its practices to European Union consumption regulations, and threatened that US social network with penalties if results are not seen at the end of the year.
The commissioner then said, on a personal basis, that she has no account in that social network with 380 million users in the EU because she decided to cancel it considering that it is a “garbage channel” for which hatred is poured.
The study, with data from 2016, indicates that Facebook receives 43.6% of the visits through search engines of the EU Member States plus Norway and Iceland, while they go to YouTube 28.6% of those visits, well ahead of Twiiter (4.3%) and Instagram (2.5%).