The Centre for Democracy & Technology Europe (CDTE) has read with interest the questionnaire provided as part of the European Commission’s public consultation on political advertising. While it contains many relevant and pressing questions, CDTE presented its own view on online advertising in general, in a concise format separate to the survey. This submission contains analysis and recommendations on online political advertising and online advertising more generally. It also reflects and builds on CDT’s responses to the Commission’s consultations on the Digital Services Act and on the European Democracy Action Plan.
CDTE’s submission focuses on four interconnected chapters. Firstly, it emphasizes the risks of creating overly broad definitions of political ads. Secondly, it proposes to focus on transparency of all online ads, and gives recommendations on criteria and meaningful information to be disclosed. Thirdly, it elaborates on the role of platforms’ algorithms and recommender systems, and stresses the need to increase transparency and user control over the criteria and values used in such systems. Finally, the document speaks about the issue of micro-targeting and general targeting in the context of elections.
For more analysis of the Digital Services Act, read CDT’s response to the European Commission’s public consultation from September 2020, and CDT’s press release following the publication of the legislative proposal in December 2020. For future updates don’t forget to subscribe to our EU newsletter.