Democrats introduce bill to stop Big Tech companies from targeting you with creepily specific ads online

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg (left) and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Three Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday to stop tech firms targeting people with ads.
If passed, the bill could disrupt the business models of companies including Meta and Google.
“The surveillance advertising business model is broken,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo.

A group of three Democrat lawmakers introduced a bill which, if passed, would upend the business models of Big Tech giants such as Meta and Google.

The Banning Surveillance Advertising Act was introduced Tuesday by Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jan Schakowsky along with Sen. Cory Booker.

The act bans “advertising facilitators” from targeting ads or allowing ads to be targeted at people. The bill makes an exception for advertising being targeted based on location. It also allows ads to be placed next to specific pieces of internet content.

The bill would give the Federal Trade Commission powers to enforce against any entity found to be breaking it, and would also allow individual citizens to bring civil action against any entity they believe to be breaking the act.

“The ‘surveillance advertising’ business model is premised on the unseemly collection and hoarding of personal data to enable ad targeting,” Eshoo said in a statement posted on her website.

“This pernicious practice allows online platforms to chase user engagement at great cost to our society, and it fuels disinformation, discrimination, voter suppression, privacy abuses, and so many other harms. The surveillance advertising business model is broken,” Eshoo added.

Meta and Google did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider about the bill, which could significantly disrupt their ads businesses, if passed.

Google announced in March 2021 it would stop tracking specific users as they browse the web. Meta announced in November 2021 that as of January 19, it will restrict the targeting of ads around sensitive characteristics including health, sexual orientation, religion, and politics.

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