One important aspect of digital democracy is that politicians can address smaller groups of voters, using digital technology and big data, rather than address the public sphere as a whole. This political tool is called microtargeting and it carries potentially profound consequences for the nature of democratic debate and the danger of a more segmented public sphere. However, we do not know much about how political microtargeting works outside the US context or how widespread it is. Hence, we study political microtargeting in a very different context: the Danish multi-party system, to learn more about the scope and consequences of microtargeting.
In this project, we use new available data on political ads from social media platforms to investigate how and to what extend politicians and political parties tailor specific messages to specific voters and who gets exposed to the ads. Investing this empirically, we do not only get an impression of the scope of microtargeting, but also the degree to which one part of the electorate receives information on a different political reality than another and whether microtargeting overall are used to strengthen or threaten democracy.
Mads Fuglsang Hove, Research Assistant (firstname.lastname@example.org)