Political advertising revisited: digital campaigning and protecting democratic discourse

Michael Harker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


This paper is concerned with the legal and regulatory control of electoral campaigning online, in particular 'microtargeting'. There has been a longstanding consensus in the UK on how to control political advertising, yet the shift of expenditure to the online environment, together with innovations in digital campaigning tools, are exposing tensions and gaps in the current regime. One central harm associated with microtargeting is its potential to undermine meaningful democratic deliberation. The paper interrogates the issues through the lens of electoral law and regulation, and questions the extent to which a recalibration is necessary to deal with the challenges of digital campaigning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-171
Number of pages21
JournalLegal Studies
Issue number1
Early online date5 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • public law
  • political advertising
  • microtargeting
  • electoral law

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