Opaque, late and fake says IPA

The IPA has today expressed its reaction to the Facebook ads run by Aggregate IQ on behalf of Vote Leave during the Brexit campaign, published by UK parliament as part of its inquiry into Fake News.

Calling them dark, opaque and, in some cases, carrying fake news, the UK’s leading advertising agency body believes these ads epitomise the dangers of micro-targeted online political advertising and further cements the need for UK government to put into action the IPA’s call for:

- a register of all political advertising creative work

- a moratorium on micro-targeted political advertising online. During this cessation, the IPA would like to agree a minimum limit for numbers of voters sent individual political messages.

It has also expressed its dismay at these ads only coming to light two years after the referendum.

Says Sarah Golding, IPA President and CEO, The&Partnership London: “These Vote Leave ads provide definitive proof of how fast evolving technology and its use/misuse is impacting the democratic process of the UK and western liberal democracies at large. In the absence of self-regulation, it is clear that micro-targeted, online political advertising is an opaque form of political communication, vulnerable to abuse. And the fact that they are only coming to light now – and only because they have been requested as evidence within a parliamentary inquiry - is further cause for alarm. It is also worth noting that the Trump presidential campaign purportedly used 5.6 million different messages. If political ad micro-targeting is not banned soon, there is a danger that the sheer volume of individual ads will overwhelm transparency activities like publishing such a registry/database. We will continue to lobby the political community for change on this.”

The IPA has met with the Electoral Commission, and has submitted evidence to both the DCMS Select Committee Inquiry into Fake News and to the House of Lords’ inquiry into regulation of the internet.

Last updated 21 January 2022