‘Microtargeting’ voters banned for the 2022 elections—Comelec

    As the election period draws near, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has become stricter with its restrictions, especially with those relating to online election ads.

    MANILA, Philippines — The act of “microtargeting” voters online with election ads has been part of the Comelec’s focus with its recent tightening of restrictions, ultimately leading to their ban.

    The Comelec prohibited microtargeting in its Resolution No. 10730, which contains the Implementing Rules for Fair Election Act. Within this resolution, the Comelec defined microtargeting as a form of online advertisements that targets users based on the analysis of user data farmed through digital means.

    “Microtargeting of electoral ads shall not be allowed provided that electoral ads can be targeted using only the following criteria: geographical locations, except radius around a specific location; age; gender; provided further that contextual targeting options may also be used in combination with the above-mentioned criteria,” the issuance stated.

    “One of the things we’re going to come out with in our social media guidelines is actually a prohibition of political candidates from using microtargeting as a means of deciding where to send their posts; how to boost or promote their posts,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez stated in a virtual election forum.

    Investigations on the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal during the United States’ 2016 elections raised awareness on the microtargeting scheme, which allowed parties to influence a person’s vote based on their user data. The Comelec’s ban was heavily impacted by concerns over this issue.

    A University of the Philippines Political Science professor, Aries Arugay, even stated, “This is because social media apps have harvested a lot of our profile information.

    “The more that you like things, the more that you feed these social media apps of what makes you riled up or what makes you emotional.” (RF/The MiNT)

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