Technology Information Commissioner's Office News

Privacy scandals prompt ICO pledge to reform political ads on platforms like Facebook


By John Glenday | Reporter

June 5, 2018 | 3 min read

The Information Commissioner’s Office, the independent body tasked with promoting transparency by public bodies and data privacy for individuals, is to launch a crackdown on online political advertising in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.


Privacy scandals prompt ICO pledge to reform online political advertising

Chief data regulator Elizabeth Denham is leading the charge with a promise "change the behaviour and compliance of all of the actors in the political campaigning space."

Addressing a hearing of the European Parliament Denham said: “Online platforms can no longer say that they are merely a platform for content. They must take responsibility for the provenance of the information that is provided to users."

While she didn't name Facebook or Twitter specifically, the move comes amid concerns over the influence both platforms have on democracy and the scope for bot manipulation.

“We have seen that the behavioral advertising ecosystem has been applied across political campaigning to influence how we may vote. I am deeply concerned about the fact that this has happened without due legal or ethical considerations of the impacts on our democratic system.”

Denham has been moved to act after a year-long inquiry into the co-opting of personal data for use in political campaigns by 40 dedicated staff unearthed evidence of widespread abuses with 30 separate organisations and around a dozen individuals all under the spotlight.

Denham was giving evidence after an appearance by Mark Zuckerberg before the parliament to answer questions related to Facebook's role in election interference, fake news and the Cambridge Analytica fall-out.

Technology Information Commissioner's Office News

More from Technology

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +