Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin North West and spokesperson for Electoral Reform and Local Government, Paul McAuliffe, has highlighted his concerns regarding online political advertising.
At a joint Oireachtas committee meeting on local government, Deputy McAuliffe called on the Minister of State for Electoral Reform, Malcom Noonan, to immediately ban online political advertising, withdraw the sections of the Electoral Reform Bill which facilitates it and bring forward legislation which comprehensively deals with the issue including micro targeting.
Deputy McAuliffe commented, “I believe there is a strong case to be made for banning online political advertising during elections and also looking, more broadly, at the way political advertising operates outside of elections.
“The Electoral Reform Bill allows for political advertising on social media platforms and yet advertising on local radio and TV is disallowed. Many social media platforms have a poor track record with regards to managing fake news and deliberate manipulation. Why are we allowing this funding stream to continue whilst denying it to reputable media outlets?
“I also have concerns regarding the issue of micro targeting which is not addressed in the Bill. There needs to be more transparency regarding the collection of data through surveys and Facebook groups and how this data may be used.
“We live in an age where people are consuming more and more news online and social media platforms are playing a greater role in shaping the political debate. It’s important that we move swiftly to bring some transparency and authenticity to that debate.
“I welcome the decision of the committee to engage with all political parties on this issue and look forward to working closely with the Minister and making progress in this area without delay, ” concluded Deputy McAuliffe.