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EU's opportunity to curb online politics ads

Image credit: International IDEA

The EU's European Democracy Action Plan and its upcoming Digital Services Act aim to regulate online political advertisements.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this commentary are those of the author. This commentary is independent of specific national or political interests. Views expressed do not necessarily represent the institutional position of International IDEA, its Board of Advisers or its Council of Member States.


That debate fixates on voter privacy, not least because the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has shown to be a powerful force in this area. However, much larger threats are at stake in the realm of democracy, such as fair elections and equal political competition.

Beyond privacy, the EU should equalise political party access to online ads and improve the oversight of digital campaigning. It can borrow from how governments have curbed big money in politics.

Online political advertising first gained notoriety in 2016. In that year, Cambridge Analytica's misuse of voter data helped tip the UK toward Brexit, while Facebook ads delivered Donald ...


To continue reading this Commentary, please visit: The EUobserver (published on 2 December 2020).

About the authors

Sam van der Staak
Director, Regional Europe
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