Overview

We want every UK voter to know who is paying to target them online during elections and referendums.

Summary

The amount of money spent on digital advertising is increasing with every election. But electoral law was written long before campaigning went digital.

While it must be clear who paid for printed election campaign advertising, no law covers these ads online.

We’re calling on the UK’s governments and social media companies to work with us in making it clear to voters who is paying to influence them online.

Changes we want to see

Voters need:

  • all digital election ads to be clearly labelled with information about who paid for it
  • social media companies to have online databases of political ads

We want the UK government to change the law so that we have:

  • better rules about how spending on digital election ads is reported to us, so that we can make sure campaigners follow the rules
  • bigger fines, if campaigners break the rules
  • stronger powers so we’ve got the right tools to regulate new ways of campaigning, like on social media channels or using online payment systems for campaign donations

What's happening now

We’re working closely with the UK government as they think about how to regulate digital campaigning.

We also meet with social media companies regularly. Facebook has launched a library of political ads in the UK, while Twitter and Google trialled libraries during the 2019 European Parliamentary elections.

Report: the rise of digital campaigning

In 2018, we wrote a report about the rise of digital campaigning in the UK.

We made recommendations to government to improve transparency of digital campaigning.

Read the full report