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The case for universal transparency of political campaigns over ad libraries

When we speak about transparency of political advertising, we must distinguish three levels of transparency, which are defned depending on who information is made available to: the viewers of the ads themselves, the wider public, or public authorities. In this paper we focus on the transparency obligations at the second level, which entail the use of online ad libraries,
also called online ad repositories.

We regard such public-level transparency as key to addressing the most important problems associated with online political advertising. Well-functioning ad libraries allow watchdogs such as CSOs and journalists to monitor online political campaigns in real time and keep the public informed about online campaigns. We assess the merits of the Commission’s proposal on public-level transparency of political ads and suggest amendments to enable more effective public scrutiny and greater integrity of online campaigns.

The paper below addressed the following 3 questions:

  • What are ad online political ad libraries?
  • In which Regulations has the Commission included mandates for ad libraries?
  • What about a single universal ad library?

This paper is the third of a series of briefs on online political advertising and the regulatory proposal.