IPA to call for moratorium on micro-targeted political ads online

On the 20th April the IPA announced that it will be making an official call to The Electoral Commission and the political community at large for a moratorium on micro-targeted political advertising online.

The move, which follows allegations surrounding Cambridge Analytica, Aggregate IQ and SCL, is deemed necessary by the IPA due to the absence of self-regulation on political advertising, which it believes can render ephemeral micro-targeted political advertising opaque and unaccountable.

The IPA will also be calling for all political advertising creative work to be listed for public display so that messaging whilst not regulated is transparent and accountable for all members of the public to see should they wish.

Says IPA President Sarah Golding: “Politics relies on the public square – on open, collective debate. 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.

“We must stress that we’re not calling for a blanket ban on all digitally targeted advertising. There’s nothing wrong with using data to micro target advertising for holiday destinations or sports cars for example – crucially they are covered by the strict ASA self-regulatory Codes, and furthermore they don’t require public square debate.

“However, in an age where consumer trust has been heavily eroded and the quest for truth and transparency is paramount, we feel it incumbent upon us to call for this moratorium.”

Under one the main terms of its Chartered Status*, it is the IPA’s duty “to advance the theory and practice of advertising, media and marketing communications in all its aspects for the benefit of the public.” It also forms a key tenet of Sarah Golding’s ‘Magic and the Machines’ Presidential agenda by ensuring greater digital media quality and security.



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