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Facebook has paused election reminders in Europe after data watchdog raises transparency concerns

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Big tech’s lead privacy regulator in Europe has intervened to flag transparency concerns about a Facebook election reminder feature — asking the tech giant to provide it with information about what data it collects from users who interact with the notification and how their personal data is used, including whether it’s used for targeting them with ads.

Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch it has paused use of the election reminder feature in the European Union while it works on addressing the Irish Data Protection Commission’s (DPC) concerns.

Facebook’s Election Day Reminder (EDR) feature is a notification the platform can display to users on the day of an election — ostensibly to encourage voter participation. However, as ever with the data-driven ad business, there’s a whole wrapper of associated questions about what information Facebook’s platform might be harvesting when it chooses to deploy the nudge — and how the (ad) business is making use of the data.

On an FAQ on its website about the election reminder, Facebook writes vaguely that users “may see reminders and posts about elections and voting.”

Facebook does not explain what criteria it uses to determine whether to target (or not to target) a particular user with an election reminder.

Yet a study carried out by Facebook in 2012, working with academics from the University of California at San Diego, found an election day reminder sent via its platform on the day of the 2010 U.S. congressional elections boosted voter turnout by about 340,000 people — which has led to concern that selective deployment of election reminders by Facebook could have the potential to influence poll outcomes.

If, for example, Facebook chose to target an election reminder at certain types of users that it knows via its profiling of them are likely to lean toward voting a particular way. Or if the reminder was targeted at key regions where a poll result could be swung with a small shift in voter turnout. So the lack of transparency around how the tool is deployed by Facebook is also concerning. 

Under EU law, meanwhile, entities processing personal data that reveals political opinions must also meet a higher standard of regulatory compliance for this so-called “special category data” — including around transparency and consent. (If relying on user consent to collect this type of data it would need to be explicit — requiring a clear, purpose-specific statement that the user affirms, for instance.)

In a statement today, the DPC writes that it notified Facebook of a number of “data protection concerns” related to the EDR ahead of the recent Irish General Election — which took place February 8 — raising particular concerns about “transparency to users about how personal data is collected when interacting with the feature and subsequently used by Facebook.”

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The DPC said it asked Facebook to make some changes to the feature, but because these “remedial actions” could not be implemented in advance of the Irish election it says Facebook decided not to activate the EDR during that poll.

We understand the main issue for the regulator centers on the provision of in-context transparency for users on how their personal data would be collected and used when they engaged with the feature — such as the types of data being collected and the purposes the data is used for, including whether it’s used for advertising purposes.

In its statement, the DPC says that following its intervention, Facebook has paused use of the EDR across the EU, writing: “Facebook has confirmed that the Election Day Reminder feature will not be activated during any EU elections pending a response to the DPC addressing the concerns raised.”

It’s not clear how long this intervention-triggered pause will last — neither the DPC nor Facebook have given a time frame for when the transparency problems might be resolved.

We reached out to Facebook with questions on the DPC’s intervention.

The company sent this statement, attributed to a spokesperson:

We are committed to processing people’s information lawfully, fairly, and in a transparent manner. However, following concerns raised by the Irish Data Protection Commission around whether we give users enough information about how the feature works, we have paused this feature in the EU for the time being. We will continue working with the DPC to address their concerns.

“We believe that the Election Day reminder is a positive feature which reminds people to vote and helps them find their polling place,” Facebook added.

Forthcoming elections in Europe include Slovak parliamentary elections this month; North Macedonian and Serbian parliamentary elections, which are due to take place in April; and U.K. local elections in early May.

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The intervention by the Irish DPC against Facebook is the second such public event in around a fortnight — after the regulator also published a statement revealing it had raised concerns about Facebook’s planned launch of a dating feature in the EU.

That launch was also put on ice following its intervention, although Facebook claimed it chose to postpone the rollout to get the launch “right,” while the DPC said it’s waiting for adequate responses and expects the feature won’t be launched before it gets them.

It looks like public statements of concern could be a new tactic by the regulator to try to address the sticky challenge of reining in big tech.

The DPC is certainly under huge pressure to deliver key decisions to prove that the EU’s flagship General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is functioning as intended. Critics say it’s taking too long, even as its case load continues to pile up.

No GDPR decisions on major cases involving tech giants, including Facebook and Google, have yet been handed down in Dublin — despite the GDPR fast approaching its second birthday.

At the same time it’s clear tech giants have no shortage of money, resources and lawyers to inject friction into the regulatory process — with the aim of slowing down any enforcement.

So it’s likely the DPC is looking for avenues to bag some quick wins — by making more of its interventions public and thereby putting pressure on a major player like Facebook to respond to publicity generated by it going public with “concerns.”

TechCrunch

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APPS

Best ASO Tips To Boost Your App Search In 2022

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You need your application to be really effective in the overpopulated application market. Then, at that point, you will have to drive downloads to endure. So when it’s all said and done, you must account for yourself. Get your application the consideration it merits.

The uplifting news, however, is that customers love to download applications – last year, we downloaded in excess of 200 billion applications around the world, and that figure is set to increment to 258 billion every year by 2022 as cell phone reception increments.

Assuming you need to be seen and have your application downloaded by however many clients as could reasonably be expected, then, at that point, you should begin by taking a gander at the application store.

Underneath, we’ve assembled probably the best application store improvement methods to assist you with creating more downloads in 2021 and then some…

Start with Your Application Name 

The odds are you as of now have an extraordinary name for your application, yet an appropriately advanced application is about significantly more than marking.

Assuming you need to amplify transparency and guarantee you’re showing up when clients look for applications like yours, you ought to remember the primary keywords for your application name or title, comparable to how you’d make a title label while improving a site page.

You could begin with your application name so it tends to be plainly recognized, thus it appears on the home screen of gadgets.

Then, at that point, you can add a scramble or vertical bar prior to adding a few pertinent watchwords to your speciality, or even put your application name in quotes as we did with FORE Business Golf Networking.

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Urge Users to Leave Reviews 

You could ask for reviews by clients through the means of your site, or through an in-application notice toward the finish of their meeting, yet make sure to restrict the number of pop-ups you execute with the goal that you don’t disturb or disappoint your clients, as this could urge them to erase your application.

We’d support all application engineers and entrepreneurs to react to criticism on their applications, as this can further develop client relations and resolve issues in an open arena.

Zero in on Your Application Depiction 

Your application depiction is your principle assemblage of text your landing page content, in a manner of speaking. Utilize a site like KeywordTool.io to discover information on your picked catchphrases to expand your openness. As portrayals are shortened, ensure you remember the main data for the initial three lines of your depiction, and afterwards add things like social confirmation, emoticon, and suggestions to take action to build commitment and downloads.

Incorporate Appealings Screen Captures 

Pictures and recordings won’t help your application rank, yet they will expand changes and assist clients with working out whether it’s an application they truly need.

There’s a little guide in empowering clients toward downloading your application if in any case, they’re not going to interface with it, or download and leave a negative survey when they understand it wasn’t what was promoted.

Assuming you need to ‘tart up’ your item page, then, at that point, you can add marking and extra text and data and designs to your recordings and screen capture, yet they ought not to diminish your item.

Pay for App Store or Play Store 

As we have SEO and pay-per-click, you need to work one next to the other (one is a gradual methodology with long haul benefits – the other is a speedy success yet requires an endless spending plan), application store promotions can be utilized to get the message out with regards to your new programming and assist you with positioning at the highest point of query items pages – in front of your opposition and enormous names in the application world.

Keep in mind, you’ll need to focus on the right crowd and art an advertisement that will assist you with changing over and that since you’re paying for situations, that doesn’t mean clients will download or cooperate with your application.

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Wrapping Up!

You can employ a group of  App  Store Optimization Services suppliers to benefit a scope of application store improvement administrations, including watchword advancement, resource enhancement, and restriction to guarantee your application is seen by individuals that matter.

We have long periods of involvement in creating and showcasing applications and have assisted different customers with expanding their downloads by infiltrating rewarding and regularly undiscovered business sectors.

Author:
Prachi Gupta likes to write information about Digital Marketing Trends that can help audience to grow their business.

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