The EU's ambiguous position towards Facebook

Despite its criticism, the EU Commission does business with Facebook as the following EU Commission answer to MEPs demonstrate:

EU Commission Answer - Commission spending on online advertising on Facebook - P-002713/2018Commission response

20 July 2018

Answer given by President Juncker on behalf of the European Commission

The Commission considers that Facebook, like other social media, offers a cost-effective means of reaching substantial parts of the EU population(1).

Like many other international organisations and public bodies, the Commission has boosted Facebook posts on Commission pages around key communication moments, notably for the roll-out(2) of corporate communication campaigns.

Examples of these campaigns include the Investment Plan for Europe(3) and the 60th anniversary of the EU. The outreach on the Investment Plan for Europe, for example, has contributed to very positive results so far by showing citizens the tangible benefits of EU funding and EU supported investment.

The campaign resulted in a more positive perception of the EU action by citizens who have been exposed to communication from the campaign, including on Facebook.

Please find enclosed (Annex 1) the figures concerning spending for the central Facebook accounts, including the Commission Representations in the Member States, managed by the Directorate-General for Communication.

For other communication actions, you can find enclosed (Annex 2) figures concerning spending on Facebook advertising, on sectorial Facebook pages, managed by other Directorates-General of the Commission.

As regards members of the College: Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development has boosted posts on the page of the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development(4) (EUR 2100) and Directorate-General for Communication on First-Vice-President’s page(5) (EUR 591.9).

Facebook has the responsibility to handle their customers' data respectfully. It has to comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation, which sets high data privacy standards.

See annexes : Annex 1, Annex 2


(1) There are more EU citizens (370 M) on Facebook than US citizens (202 M). Sources: and
(2) Facebook accounts for 7% of global total media advertising revenues. This figure is even higher (18%) if one considers online advertising only (source:

Last updated: 25 July 2018

Source :
© European Union, 2018 - EP



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