Topic Submissions

Political Micro-Targeting in Europe: A Panacea for the Citizens’ Political Misinformation or the New Evil for Voting

  • Kirill Ryabtsev Utrecht University


Personalised interaction between political parties and the electorate has existed since the emergence of modern elections. Nowadays, digital technology has moved the relationship between political candidates and voters to a more advanced level. Through collecting and analysing citizens’ personal data via digital means, politicians have the capacity to foresee the electorate’s political behaviour, its preferences, and the choices it is inclined to make. Such campaign strategy is known as ‘political micro-targeting’, and it has raised great interest in academia. One may consider it a panacea for political misinformation, given that political micro-targeting can increase the population’s participation in politics. Nonetheless, it can be argued that this phenomenon poses a long-term threat to democracy. Accordingly, due to the high engagement with personal data that political micro-targeting entails, the question of its compatibility with citizens’ voting rights arises. This thesis will explore the issue of online political micro-targeting and seek to conduct a comparative analysis between presidential election campaigns in three European states, namely France, Italy and the United Kingdom. Accordingly, current political micro-targeting practices in these legal systems, and how they can influence each other, will be illustrated. An important place will be devoted to the analysis of political micro-targeting’s interference with the electorate’s voting rights and its regulatory framework.