Facebook’s recent overture towards more transparency has been a topic of debate at the microtargeting symposium, which occurred at the University of Amsterdam, in light of an upcoming special issue of Internet Policy Review. The discussion between leading academics in the field of political microtargeting led to an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, in which Zuckerberg is encouraged to “engage with governments, regulators, election monitoring bodies, civil society and academics to develop public policies and guidelines for ensuring fairness, equality, and democratic oversight in digital political campaigns.”
In light of the upcoming special issue of Internet Policy Review on political microtargeting, guest editors Balazs Bodo, Natali Helberger, and Claes de Vreese organised a symposium on the topic. There, authors discussed each other’s submitted papers.
Hosted by the University of Amsterdam, Kathryn Montgomery (American University) kicked off by discussing Mauricio Moura’s (George
Washington University) paper on the use of WhatsApp by political campaigns in Brazil. Then, Sabrina Sassi (Université Laval) discussed a paper by Tom Dobber et al. (University of Amsterdam) on the conditions under which political microtargeting occurs in the Netherlands. Simon Kruschinski (University of Mainz) then took over to discuss Sabrina Sassi’s work on different aspects of microtargeting in the political realm. The first half of the symposium was concluded by Mauricio Moura, who discussed Simon Kruschinski and André Haller’s (University of Bamberg) analysis of data-driven campaigning in Germany.