The regulation of online political ads in Brazil

PI spoke to partner InternetLab about their research on the regulation of online political ads in Brazil, obstacles to online ads transparency, and coming challenges.



In recent years, the use of online political campaigning has gained significant traction, with regulatory bodies often struggling to catch up. The unregulated use of political ads can pose threats to transparency, and all the more so when online platforms fail to play their part.

We at PI, together with InternetLab, are investigating the reach, effectiveness and impact of regulation by social media platforms and electoral authorities on online political advertising. Our research has shown that social media platforms’ self-regulation of political ads remains fragmented, with each platform operating fluctuating and often widely differing transparency standards for different countries. Some of these countries benefit from heightened transparency standards for political ads; others are offered significantly less information. Brazil is a mixed example: while Facebook implemented heightened transparency tools early and ahead of the 2018 general elections, to date, Google has failed to introduce the transparency tools available in other jurisdictions.

In December 2020, Francisco Brito Cruz told us about the evolving regulation of online political advertising in Brazil, the connection between platform self-regulation and electoral reform, and current challenges to transparency of online political ads.