Social media and political advertising

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) contributed to a new report by Transparency International, which identifies critical risks to the integrity of political financing posed by online advertising. It makes five recommendations to policymakers worldwide. 

In announcing the report Transparency International states:

“Online political advertising is rapidly growing around the world and will soon be the biggest media expenditure for political campaigns in the US and UK. Over US$3 billion is estimated to have been spent on online ads in the 2020 US general election.
Particularly when combined with micro-targeting methods, political disinformation campaigns spread through online advertising can create a powerful effect on public debate and elections, out of sight of watchdogs and regulators.”

The report recommends that policymakers worldwide move quickly to:

  1. Bring regulation into the digital era
  2. Ensure authentic political messaging
  3. Hold platforms accountable for ad transparency
  4. Raise the bar for financial reporting
  5. Restrict microtargeting and enhance standards for trading personal data. 

The full report is a good read: Paying for Views: Solving Transparency and Accountability Risks in Online Political Advertising

TINZ was one of several TI Chapters that collaborated on this report.  We contributed a case study, which informed the report’s findings. Our case study Online Political Campaigning in New Zealand was published in October 2020.

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