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Latest updates - last updated 8 March 2024

8 March 2024 - This page has been updated to include additional information on online campaigning, research and surveys.

What is microtargeting?

Political parties and campaign groups, from all sides have targeted potential voters using data analytics methods. These techniques, known collectively as microtargeting, help the parties and groups deliver very specific messages directly to small groups with shared interests or opinions or directly to people. We have detailed guidance on microtargeting.

Are political parties and campaign groups allowed to use microtargeting to target me?

This is not a simple yes or no answer.

Political parties and referendum campaign groups have a vital role to play in the democratic process. It is important they’re able to communicate with potential voters and promote their views. Data protection law does not restrict this. However, one of the main issues with microtargeting is that the public may not realise that political parties and campaign groups are using these techniques.

A political party may have personal information about a specific person and use it to target that person through digital advertising. If the person doesn’t know their data is being used in this way, then it goes against one of the key principles of data protection law, which requires organisations to process personal data fairly, ensuring that people know what is happening with their data.

Can political parties use social media advertising to target me?

Social media advertising is used by all parties to promote their work, but it’s important that it is clear to people if they are being targeted. Political parties should make it clear that people’s personal information will be used to send them specific social media advertising.

Can a political party use an online petition or survey to gather personal data?

If a political party asks you to complete a survey or a petition, they should be clear how that data will be used in the future. In many cases, it will not be appropriate for a party or candidate who has collected information for a specific petition or survey to repurpose that information for political campaigning.

If you are concerned about how your information is being used, you can exercise your right to object.