Image Credit: International IDEA
International IDEA, in cooperation with the European Commission and the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations will co-organize a series of online roundtables titled Online Political Advertising and Microtargeting: the latest legal, ethical, political and technological evolutions and Virtual Meeting of the European Cooperation Network on Elections.
Microtargeting reached global headlines in 2018 following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. By analysing datasets, political parties increasingly achieve a detailed understanding of the behaviour and opinions of voters, allowing parties to cluster voters. Such clusters can subsequently be targeted with online political advertisements that speak to their exact concerns. These online messages can only be seen by those voters included in specific clusters. This is called digital microtargeting.
The objective of the webinar series is to advance the understanding of rules and oversight of online political advertising and microtargeting in ensuring safe and fair elections. The event will also support the development of guidelines, rules and oversight frameworks on the topic of microtargeting.
In June 2019, International IDEA and the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations co-organized a roundtable on the regulation and oversight of online microtargeting by political parties in election campaigns. Parallel to this, the European Commission has convened its European Cooperation Network on Elections at various moments since 2019 to exchange practices on a range of topics relevant to ensuring free and fair elections. This has included data protection, cybersecurity, transparency and awareness raising. The upcoming webinar series follows up on both these initiatives. International IDEA also published a Political Party Innovation Primer on Digital Microtargeting, which explores how political parties around the globe have integrated legitimate microtargeting practices into their campaigns.
The online discussions will bring together members of the European Cooperation Network on Elections. Additional participants will provide a balance of perspectives, new voices and geographic spread and include leading European and global experts from civil society, relevant national and European bodies, and academia. Please be advised that the discussions will be held as closed meetings, but a summary report will be made available to the public.
The sessions will focus on:
- the implementation of rules and regulations, with a view to identifying the application of privacy legislation (GDPR) in online political microtargeting.
- oversight of online political microtargeting, with the intent to create effective and capable oversight bodies.
- Monday, 15 June 2020 (11:00-13:00): Exploring legal frameworks for online political advertising and microtargeting, and their implementation.
- Thursday, 18 June 2020 (11:00-13:00): Enhancing oversight of online political advertising and microtargeting.
- Monday, 22 June 2020 (TBC): Meeting of the European Cooperation Network on Elections (meeting to include Elections Network members only).