Was it the micro-targeting wot won it?

The UK advertising trade body IPA has expressed concerns that the micro-targeting of political ads using people’s data is minimising debate and democracy. But the rot in political advertising runs far deeper than that, says Eliza Williams.

Last week, the UK advertising trade body IPA made an official call to the Electoral Commission and the UK political community in general to ban the use of ads served online based on individual users’ data.

“Politics relies on the public square – on open, collective debate,” says IPA President Sarah Golding. “We, however, believe micro-targeted political ads circumvent this. Very small numbers of voters can be targeted with specific messages that exist online only briefly. In the absence of regulation we believe this almost hidden form of political communication is vulnerable to abuse.”

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