New EU Lawsuit Accuses X Of Illegally Using Political Views And Religious Beliefs For Ad Targeting

It’s been a troubling year-end for Elon Musk’s X app with plenty of controversies arising. The latest one has to do with a new lawsuit accusing the company of making use of political views and religion to target users for advertising purposes.

The complaint was launched by the European Center for Digital Rights which claims the unlawful practice has been going unnoticed for far too long.

Therefore, the organization is now trying hard to gather more support in this regard as it further revealed how X made use of data that it felt was specifically protected. The goal appeared to be linked to seeing the response of users regarding particular ads.

Meanwhile, the Vienna-based non-profit firm that’s dubbed NOYB says it filed a major complaint against the firm last month and accused it of making use of micro-targeting strategies that were illegal.

They have now gone as far as to mention how their move has seriously impacted the X platform as many advertisers have already halted advertising across X. Now, it claims the goal is related to putting an end to this endeavor before things get out of hand and the only way that could be done is through stricter means for an enforcement.

NOYB’s complaint was made aware to the public and it entailed several accusations against X through its press release. For instance, the company was accused of illegally using sensitive data.

For those wondering which kinds of information comes under this regard, the answer is political views and religion that are analyzed through simple user clicks, the reply they generate, their likes, and also how they engage or interact through the platform.

We saw how the EU Commission made use of similar types of data to market the very controversial chat regulation found on X. Moreover, how the app targets the system by using users’ beliefs and views is seriously an offense as such data should always belong as the sole property of the user and no one else.
Such advertising campaigns ended up targeting so many users on X that made utilized specific keywords that they showed very little interest in like Brexit or even names of leading political figures. This showed their disliking or disinterest and hence provided the app with a better strategy in terms of who to target, what ads to serve them, and how to profit the most from such findings.

Another serious offense has to do with ad campaigns that went against X’s own policies. The firm has outlined time and time again in its rules how no form of religious opinions and political beliefs would be used for the sake of serving ads.

On paper, the app bars using such sensitive types of data for the sake of serving ads for political reasons. But in reality, it’s a whole different ballgame as delineated by the complaint. Seeing it work against the DMA and GDPR is an eye-opening experience too.

Photo: DIW-AIGen

Read next: Elon Musk's X Unveils Anonymous Access in Spaces
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