Electoral campaigns are central to influencing how people vote and can also affect people’s perception of the legitimacy of a country’s elections and democracy in general.

Today, political parties and other stakeholders are increasingly using new online techniques in electoral campaigns. Many countries struggle with applying regulatory frameworks on elections to the online sphere, especially as regards online political advertising and microtargeting.

This Event Report provides an overview of the issues at stake and recommendations from two roundtables on online political advertising and microtargeting that were organized by International IDEA in June 2020, in collaboration with the European Commission and the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. It covers topics such as what sets online campaigning apart from traditional campaigning, the rights and freedoms potentially affected by the use of digital microtargeting and online campaigning, gaps in current regulations, and division and coordination of oversight roles both domestically and internationally.


Publication date
16 December 2020
Number of pages


Executive summary

1. Introduction

2. Understanding the opportunities and risks 

3. Responses by the European Union

4. Responses by the Council of Europe

5. Developing regulatory frameworks

6. Enhancing oversight

7. Conclusion

National and EU guidance and tools


Resources and further reading

Annex A. Programme

About International IDEA 

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Online Political Advertising and Microtargeting: The Latest Legal, Ethical, Political and Technological Evolutions

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