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Meta fined $6.5 million for violation of Italy gambling ad ban

22 Dec 2023

(PRESS RELEASE) -- The Authority for Communications Guarantees, in its session on 20 December, imposed a fine of €5.85 million on the company Meta Platforms Ireland Limited Ltd. for violating the prohibition of gambling advertising under Article 9 of the legislative decree of 12 July 2018, no. 87. The proceeding, initiated following numerous reports received by the Authority and concluded with Resolution No. 331/23/CONS, confirmed the presence of promotional or indirectly advertising content related to games or bets with cash prizes on 18 profiles/accounts (5 on Instagram and 13 on Facebook), as well as 32 "sponsored" contents, i.e., distributed for payment on the aforementioned social media, aimed at promoting and/or advertising online gambling and betting activities with cash prizes through videos and images. Similar to the recent decisions against Google Ireland Ltd. (Resolution No. 317/23/CONS) and Twitch Interactive Germany GmbH (Resolution No. 316/23/CONS), Meta was deemed responsible as the owner of the dissemination means, i.e., the video-sharing platforms "Facebook" and "Instagram," for the 32 "sponsored" contents. It emerged that the company did not merely host, with purely technical, passive, and automatic methods, user-uploaded content but provided an actual advertising service; this circumstance puts the company in a position to be aware of the illegality of the content.

Regarding the 18 profiles/accounts (5 on Instagram and 13 on Facebook), the company was held responsible for only 5 accounts since, following the notification of the contestation act - marking the moment when the company became fully aware of the illicit content distributed - it only removed 11 of the 18 reported profiles/accounts. The decision aligns with the provisions of Article 6, paragraph 1, letter b) of the Digital Services Act (DSA). The sanction is accompanied by an order of notice & take down, as well as an order of notice & stay down.
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