PI launches reports on political ads transparency and micro-targeting

PI’s research reflects on the unequal transparency standards applied by social media platforms to political advertising globally, and the regulation of micro-targeting in six states.

Key points
  • We analysed the tools developed by Facebook, Google and Twitter to keep online political advertising in check and to monitor their progress in providing all their users with equal transparency standards.
  • In partnership with the University of Edinburgh, we developed a comparative analysis of the legal frameworks regulating micro-targeting in Canada, Brazil, France, Italy, Spain and the UK.


Press release

Privacy International announces the launch of two reports as part of its work on Defending Democracy and Dissent.

The report Online Political Ads: A study of inequality in transparency standards builds on our 2019 research findings and delves into the adverse impacts of non-existent or limited transparency on democracy based on two case-studies developed by our partners InternetLab and ELSAM.

The report, Micro-Targeting in Political Campaigns, examines the various legal frameworks governing political microtargeting/ microtargeting in political campaigns in Canada, Brazil, France, Italy, Spain and the UK. The paper assesses the effectiveness of national practices, and points out regulatory gaps in their respective frameworks.

Laura Lazaro Cabrera, Ads Transparency Project Lead, said:  

"Political campaigns have evolved to rely on data-intensive practices, including micro-targeting. To protect democratic processes from manipulation, users must be given comprehensive information about the political ads they are shown. This starts with the implementation of robust legal frameworks by regulators, and the application of the highest possible transparency standards across the board by social media platforms."