As political campaigning in the lead-up to elections has moved online, parties and candidates have found new and innovative methods for connecting with voters. However, new challenges have multiplied, with the regulation and oversight authorities struggling to keep up. Campaign communications are increasingly opaque online, thus enabling harmful mis- and disinformation to influence electoral narratives. Moreover, it is harder to track the funding used for ads, and these communications may be targeted at voters on the basis of their personal data without their knowledge or consent. 

The main objective of this Report is to support legislators, oversight bodies and other regulators in developing rules for the regulation and oversight of online political advertising. It addresses questions including how to build on existing campaign regulation and what kind of unexpected consequences and challenges may occur; how to strike the right balance between regulation and protecting fundamental freedoms; how soft-law tools such as codes of conduct can help to increase campaign integrity and where they fall short; what an effective oversight institution looks like and how it is coordinated; and what sanctions can help to ensure effective enforcement.


Publication date
23 October 2023
Thijs Heinmaa; Contributors: Peter Wolf, Lisa-Marie Dalke and Marilyn Neven
Number of pages
978-91-7671-694-6 (PDF)


Executive summary


1. Growing online campaign space: Rationale for regulation

2. Regulating online political advertising

3. Common regulatory provisions to increase the transparency of online campaigning

4. Oversight and enforcement

5. Conclusion


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Winning Elections the Right Way

Online Political Advertising Rules in Europe and Selected Countries Globally
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