Facebook to share traders' data with State agencies

Facebook will share business advertising information with government agencies like KRA, beginning from January next year. [iStockphoto]

Facebook will starting, in January next year, share information on business advertising with the company with authorities, including Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the National Police Service.

This follows the review of terms of use by Meta, the company that owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

In the terms, the company said businesses placing adverts across its different platforms would have given it consent to share information with government agencies looking for such information to assist in lawful investigations.

“Our licence to deliver your ad will end when we have completed your order. You understand, however, that…you consent that Meta may disclose your advertising content, and all information associated with your advertising, to a governmental entity or body if Meta believes that disclosure would assist in a lawful investigation,” says the company in the terms that will be effective January 3, 2023.

It added that companies placing adverts would be required to disclose information such as the nature of the business they are involved in and the kind of people targeted by such adverts.

“When you place an order, you will tell us the type of advertising you want to buy, the amount you want to spend and your bid," Meta says.

"If we accept your order, we will deliver your ads as inventory becomes available…when serving your ad, we use best efforts to deliver the ads to the audience you specify or to achieve the outcome that you select, although we cannot guarantee in every instance that your ad will reach its intended target or achieve the outcome that you select.”

The move could be a boon to KRA, which has been seeking to increase the number of taxpayers in a bid to grow tax revenues, with local companies that have undertaking their businesses online including marketing through social media platforms, remaining elusive.

Two years ago, Treasury introduced the Digital Services Tax through the Finance Act 2020, payable on income accrued in Kenya from services offered through a digital marketplace.

The levy is set at 1.5 per cent of the gross transaction value and is due at the time of transfer of the payment to the service provider.

This was mostly targeted at multinational companies whose platforms and other services are in use in Kenya.

It was soon followed by the Value Added Tax (Digital Marketplace Supply) Regulations, 2020 that introduced VAT on products and services sold online.

KRA surpassed its revenue collection targets for the second year in a row during the financial year to June 2022.

The authority collected Sh2.03 trillion during the year, which was against a target of Sh1.976 trillion set by Treasury.

The taxman said the higher collection was largely due to improved compliance by taxpayers.