Google, Meta, Microsoft Try - But Next Steps In Protecting Online Privacy Won't Work

Microsoft is the latest to announce that search engine Bing and social media site LinkedIn will provide more information on targeted advertisements.

The goal is to protect users against risks related to online activities across desktop and mobile platforms -- but will all this transparency simply give users more information about what companies do with their data, rather than stop them from collecting it through fines imposed by government worldwide?

Microsoft's news comes on Friday as the European Union (EU) puts in place the Digital Services Act (DSA), which demands that large companies protect online users from harmful content and become more transparent about their algorithms.

The EU named 19 platforms, with the majority based in the United States, including Microsoft's Bing and LinkedIn as well as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Microsoft also took other measures to comply with the DSA, including the creation of an Ad Library that gives European users access to information about the advertisements they see on the platform.



"We will also evolve and continue to improve our approach as the service evolves, such as through the introduction of Bing’s new generative AI features," Courtney Gregoire, Microsoft's chief digital safety officer, wrote in a blog post. "We will implement additional safeguards to protect against new risks related to AI as they arise and will continue to be transparent about our approach through updates to The New Bing: Our Approach to Responsible AI."

The EU is working on the approval of the law by the end of the year that regulates artificial intelligence (AI).

Meta this week launched a new search tool that tracks branded content campaigns. Advertisers can find the feature, Search Branded Content Search, in the Ads Library. This is another way for the company to improve transparency around branded-content campaigns for large platform companies with more than 45 million regional users.

Google also plans to share more insights into how targeted ads are served to users in EU and expand the ads transparency center — all based on its need to adhere to online content rules and regulations.

Platforms that do not adhere to the rules could face significant financial penalties of up to 6% of their worldwide annual turnover.

Consumers already experience a variety of challenges due to stolen and misused data. This could become revenue for the EU, while it is a heartache for the company that is paying the fine. 

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