Online Political Microtargeting: Promises and Threats for Democracy

15 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2018

See all articles by Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius

Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius

University of Amsterdam - IViR Institute for Information Law (IViR)

Judith Moeller

University of Amsterdam

Sanne Kruikemeier

University of Amsterdam

Ronan Ó Fathaigh

University of Amsterdam - Institute for Information Law (IViR)

Kristina Irion

University of Amsterdam

Tom Dobber

University of Amsterdam

Balázs Bodó

University of Amsterdam - Institute for Information Law (IViR)

Claes H. de Vreese

University of Amsterdam

Date Written: February 9, 2018

Abstract

Online political microtargeting involves monitoring people’s online behaviour, and using the collected data, sometimes enriched with other data, to show people-targeted political advertisements. Online political microtargeting is widely used in the US; Europe may not be far behind. This paper maps microtargeting’s promises and threats to democracy. For example, microtargeting promises to optimise the match between the electorate’s concerns and political campaigns, and to boost campaign engagement and political participation. But online microtargeting could also threaten democracy. For instance, a political party could, misleadingly, present itself as a different one-issue party to different individuals. And data collection for microtargeting raises privacy concerns. We sketch possibilities for policymakers if they seek to regulate online political microtargeting. We discuss which measures would be possible, while complying with the right to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Keywords: microtargeting, elections, political campaigns, privacy, democracy, profiling

Suggested Citation

Zuiderveen Borgesius, Frederik and Moeller, Judith and Kruikemeier, Sanne and Ó Fathaigh, Ronan and Irion, Kristina and Dobber, Tom and Bodó, Balázs and de Vreese, Claes H., Online Political Microtargeting: Promises and Threats for Democracy (February 9, 2018). Utrecht Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 1, p. 82-96, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3128787

Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - IViR Institute for Information Law (IViR) ( email )

Amsterdam
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.ivir.nl/employee/zuiderveen-borgesius/

Judith Moeller

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Sanne Kruikemeier

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Ronan Ó Fathaigh

University of Amsterdam - Institute for Information Law (IViR) ( email )

Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands

Kristina Irion

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Rokin 84
Amsterdam, 1012 KX
Netherlands

Tom Dobber

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Balázs Bodó

University of Amsterdam - Institute for Information Law (IViR) ( email )

Rokin 84
Amsterdam, 1012 KX
Netherlands

Claes H. De Vreese

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands
+31 20 525 2426/3680 (Phone)

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