Facebook has implemented measures allowing the European Parliament and European political groups to buy political advertising throughout the EU, the company told POLITICO on Wednesday.
“After a request from the European Parliament, we have agreed to exempt a number of pages of official EU bodies from these rules until the elections at the end of the month,” a spokesperson for the company said.
Facebook faced a backlash last month from the three main EU institutions — the Parliament, the Commission and the Council of the EU — because of its policy on cross-border political advertising. The social media giant requires all advertisers to register in the country where they wish to purchase political advertising, as part of an effort to limit foreign influence in national campaigns.
Earlier this week, European political parties said that no changes had been made, despite pledges from Facebook’s VP for Global Affairs Nick Clegg to lift the restrictions.
The company has now granted and implemented temporary exemptions for the main Facebook pages of the European Parliament, European political groups and European political parties.
The exemptions apply to about 40 Facebook pages, including those of the European People’s Party, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. They are applicable as of Wednesday until the end of the election, on May 26.
A Parliament insider confirmed to POLITICO that the social media giant had reached out Wednesday to verbally confirm the exemptions. Another one said cross-border political ads tested late afternoon Wednesday were authorized by Facebook.
“We have been in constant dialogue with European institutions since early February to find the best possible approach for this complex and novel situation,” the spokesperson said.
The company is currently discussing the issue with the European Commission, which has also complained about the restrictions to cross-border political advertising.