EU Election Leaves Facebook in Hot Water

Group says it breached Facebook’s political ad restriction

The EU parliamentary elections concluded on May 26 and left Facebook (FB) in another battle for its reputation and wallet. A Dutch digital rights group has claimed that it was able to run political ads in another European country despite Facebook saying ahead of the vote that it wouldn’t allow people or groups to run political ads outside the countries from which they were purchasing the ads.

EU Election Leaves Facebook in Hot Water

According to the group, which called itself Bits of Freedom, the fact that it was able to run political ads in Germany from the Netherlands shows that Facebook didn’t keep its word when it came to restricting political ads to secure the EU parliamentary elections from foreign interference. The findings of Bits of Freedom, as reported by Bloomberg, have renewed calls to closely regulate technology companies to ensure that their products are not abused to undermine democratic processes. Tight regulations can drive up costs and slow growth at the targeted companies.

Calls for tech regulation grow louder

Facebook appears to be becoming frustrated with the problems it’s facing in the business of selling political ads. The company has explored ditching the political advertising business because some at the company view it as a headache rather than an opportunity, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook’s advertising revenue rose 26% YoY (year-over-year) to $14.9 billion in the first quarter. Twitter (TWTR) and Yandex (YNDX) recorded advertising revenue growth of 18% YoY each in the first quarter. Advertising revenue increased 15.4% at Google (GOOGL) and 3.0% at Baidu (BIDU) in the quarter.