Guidelines 08/2020 on the targeting of social media users – version for public consultation
Paragraph 5.2.1 Data provided by the user to the social media provider
37 Individuals may actively disclose a great deal of information about themselves when making use of social media. The creation of a social media account (or “profile”) involves disclosure of a number of attributes, which may include name, date of birth, gender, place of residence, language, etc. Depending on the nature of the social media platform, users may include additional information such as relationship status, interests or current employment. Personal data provided by social media users can be used by the social media provider to develop criteria, which enables the targeter to address specific messages at the users of the social media.
Company X sells gentlemen’s shoes and wishes to promote a sale of its winter collection. For its advertising campaign, it wishes to target men between the age of 30 and 45 who have indicated that they are single in their social media profile. It uses the corresponding targeting criteria offered by the social media provider as parameters to identify the target audience to whom its advertisement should be displayed. Moreover, the targeter indicates that the advertisement should be displayed to social media users while they are using the social media service between the hours of 5pm and 8pm. To enable targeting of social media users on the basis of specific criteria, the social media provider has previously determined which types of personal data shall be used in order to develop the targeting criteria and which targeting criteria shall be offered. The social media provider also communicates certain statistical information once the advertisements has been displayed to the targeter (e.g. to report on the demographic composition of individuals that interacted with the advertisement).