In a recent development, Meta Platforms Ireland Limited Ltd., the parent company of popular social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, has been slapped with a hefty fine of €5.85 million by the Authority for Communications Guarantees in Italy. The fine comes in response to the company’s violation of the gambling advertising ban outlined in Article 9 of the legislative decree dated 12 July 2018, no. 87.
The Authority’s decision, as per Resolution No. 331/23/CONS, was the result of an investigation triggered by multiple reports received concerning Meta’s platforms. The investigation confirmed the presence of promotional or indirectly advertising content related to games or bets with cash prizes across 18 profiles/accounts (5 on Instagram and 13 on Facebook). Additionally, 32 “sponsored” contents, distributed for payment on the social media giants, were found to be promoting and advertising online gambling and betting activities through videos and images.
Similar to recent actions against other tech giants like Google Ireland Ltd. and Twitch Interactive Germany GmbH, Meta was held responsible as the owner of the dissemination means, namely the video-sharing platforms “Facebook” and “Instagram,” for the 32 “sponsored” contents. The Authority emphasized that Meta was not merely a passive host of user-uploaded content but actively provided an advertising service, making the company aware of the illegality of the content.
The company’s responsibility for the 18 profiles/accounts was narrowed down to five, as Meta, upon notification of the contestation act, removed only 11 out of the reported 18 profiles/accounts. This decision aligns with the provisions of Article 6, paragraph 1, letter b) of the Digital Services Act (DSA). The imposed sanction is accompanied by an order of notice & take down, as well as an order of notice & stay down.
This recent penalty serves as a stern reminder to tech giants that they are accountable for the content shared on their platforms, particularly when it comes to advertisements promoting activities prohibited by law. Meta Platforms Ireland Limited Ltd. is expected to comply with the Authority’s orders promptly, ensuring a more responsible and compliant online environment.