Europe’s Anti-Social Media Regs Could Also Hurt Local News

From Columbia Journal Review

New EU regulations will have serious implications for newsrooms worldwide

Although news publishers are arguably not the primary target of the GDPR, as organizations that use tools and host advertisements that collect data about readers, they are nonetheless required to comply.

Obtaining consent

News organizations will be responsible for obtaining specific, proactive consent from their users before collecting any data about them, either through advertisements or analytics scripts. Although opinions vary about what obtaining consent might look like, CNIL, the French Data Protection Authority, has articulated that this may require a splash page or pop-up that blocks new visitors from viewing pages where ads are hosted until consent has been obtained. As one editor from the French newspaper Le Monde told us: “No French editor wants to do this because . . . 15 or maybe 20 percent of your traffic will disappear.” As a result, the consent requirement may also hurt the most valuable advertising real estate that news sites have: their homepages and section fronts.

‘Right to Be Forgotten’

On the other hand, the GDPR is much less likely to affect typical news gathering. Though the GDPR grants individuals the right to have data that’s been collected about them erased, it does exempt from erasure data gathered or processed “solely for journalistic purposes,” “for exercising the right of freedom of expression and information,” and for documents in the “public interest.”

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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at