Free, fair, and trustworthy information is essential to guarantee the integrity of the electoral process. Electoral communication and advertising increasingly move online. Consequently, in addition to political parties, politicians and media, online platforms and other new actors have assumed an important role in the way individuals gain access to information on political matters. Online advertising techniques differ from the traditional ones; they are based on processing a large amount of personal data to deliver targeted political messages adapted to individual voters’ interests and preferences.
This new information ecosystem provides tools for more effective campaigning but may also create inequalities and opacity amongst political parties and candidates. It may involve abuse of microtargeting and personal data, abusive use of bots and algorithms as well as disinformation campaigns, aimed at persuading the voters based on their emotional rather than informed choice. Also, funding of electoral campaigns and expenditure of political actors may be conducted less transparently online.
This Recommendation seeks to assist member States in addressing the concerns for the fairness and legitimacy of the electoral processes that have emerged because of the new formats and digital techniques of online campaigning.
Recommends that the governments of member States
Appendix to Recommendation CM/Rec(2022)12
Guidelines on electoral communication and media coverage of election campaigns
Scope and definitions
1. Governance principles
2. Principles for political advertising online
3. Transparency of campaign support, financing and electoral spending
4. Transparency and accountability relating to the use of algorithms, content curation, content moderation and handling of problematic accounts
5. Privacy, consent and microtargeting
6. Media and election campaigns