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GDPR leads some US news sites to block access in Europe

New European data protection rules went into effect on Friday.

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Many US sites have taken action as the EU's GDPR rules came into effect.

Christian Ohde/Getty Images

Several high-profile US news sites blocked access to European users Friday as the EU's new rules about data protection came into effect.

The LA Times and the Chicago Tribune web are among the high profile sites to assure EU visitors they were looking for ways to make themselves available in those regions. "We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market," the newspapers told visitors to its sites.

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The LA Times says it has blocked access for users in most European countries.

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The message on the New York Daily News' site assures EU visitors that they are looking into a solution.

Sites that fall under the umbrellas of media publishing groups such as Tronc ( which owns the LA Times, New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and others) and Lee Enterprises (which owns 46 locally focused daily newspapers in 21 states) are blocked for now, according to the New York Times.

Other US outlets' sites remain available, but ask EU visitors for consent to use their data. Time, Huffpost and the Washington Post are among the sites taking this approach.

USA Today, which is run by Gannett Company, is offering a "European Union Experience," it said in a notification to readers. This means it won't collect European users' data.

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USA Today assures EU visitors that won't collect their information.

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Sites like Huffpost are seeking EU users' consent to set cookies.

GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, is designed to give EU citizens greater control over how their information is used online.

It was adopted in April 2016 and its provisions became directly applicable in EU member states on Friday, after a two-year transitional period.

Privacy has become a major political issue in the EU in recent months, with regulators having questioned Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg about the mining of users' data and election meddling on Tuesday. Zuckerberg said Thursday at the Viva Technology conference in Paris that Facebook has "always shared" values over user privacy  and thought about the "philosophy encoded in regulation like GDPR for a "long time," according to CNBC. Zuckerberg added, "I don't want to understate the areas where there are new rules that we've had to go implement but I also don't want to make it seem like this is a massive departure in how we've thought about this stuff either."