Moti­on Dan­drès (22.4153): Micro­tar­ge­ting of hol­ders of a poli­ti­cal man­da­te on the Internet

Moti­on Dan­drès (22.4153): Micro­tar­ge­ting of hol­ders of a poli­ti­cal man­da­te on the Internet

Sub­mit­ted text

The Fede­ral Coun­cil is ins­truc­ted to draw up regu­la­ti­ons gover­ning micro­tar­ge­ting, which tar­gets hol­ders of a poli­ti­cal man­da­te on the Inter­net, in such a way that this prac­ti­ce beco­mes more trans­pa­rent for citizens.


Set­ting a legal frame­work for modern prac­ti­ces rela­ted to the pro­ce­s­sing of per­so­nal data is a major poli­ti­cal chall­enge. The future Data Pro­tec­tion Act, which will come into force on Sep­tem­ber 1, 2023, does pro­vi­de a mini­mal respon­se to this issue. Howe­ver, cer­tain unde­si­ra­ble deve­lo­p­ments are still pos­si­ble. They must be pre­ven­ted by clear and appro­pria­te laws.

In the poli­ti­cal are­na, it is important to pay atten­ti­on to a par­ti­cu­lar­ly intru­si­ve method of com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on. Social net­works such as Twit­ter coll­ect count­less data from their users and can thus obtain from them a very Crea­te pre­cise pro­fi­le. Thanks to this fact, they can offer their cus­to­mers a micro­tar­ge­ting tool with which they can Tar­get adver­ti­sing mes­sa­ges to a very limi­t­ed seg­ment of the popu­la­ti­on can. Experts have pro­ven that hol­ders of a poli­ti­cal man­da­te are direct­ly addres­sed by cer­tain inte­rest groups as part of adver­ti­sing cam­paigns on the Internet.

This prac­ti­ce is cle­ar­ly a new type of poli­ti­cal lob­by­ing. The mes­sa­ges dis­se­mi­na­ted in the mar­gins of par­lia­men­ta­ry deba­tes are tar­ge­ted at a few Inter­net users iden­ti­fi­ed as Swiss poli­ti­ci­ans. They con­cern spe­ci­fic topics and are inten­ded to streng­then the posi­ti­ons of the inte­rest groups they repre­sent. In con­trast to lob­by­ing known in the Fede­ral Par­lia­ment, lob­by­ing in social net­works has not even ele­men­ta­ry trans­pa­ren­cy rules. Cer­tain orga­nizati­ons can the­r­e­fo­re try to direct­ly influence some of the mem­bers of par­lia­mentwit­hout anyo­ne kno­wing about it. Even the main peo­p­le affec­ted do not know that the cam­paign spe­ci­fi­cal­ly tar­gets them. This opaque prac­ti­ce must be curtail­ed to ensu­re trans­pa­ren­cy as a fun­da­men­tal demo­cra­tic principle.

State­ment of the Fede­ral Coun­cil of 16.11.22

In recent years, so-cal­led “micro-tar­ge­ting” has beco­me a com­mon prac­ti­ce offe­red by Inter­net plat­forms such as Face­book, You­Tube or Twit­ter to their adver­ti­sing cus­to­mers. It allo­ws pro­files of users to be crea­ted on the basis of the data coll­ec­ted, map­ping their pre­fe­ren­ces in detail. This enables adver­ti­sers as well as lob­by­ists to tail­or their mes­sa­ges to the respec­ti­ve tar­get groups. Users with other pro­files do not see the content.

Micro-tar­ge­ting con­cerns any kind of adver­ti­sing. Micro-tar­ge­ting in the poli­ti­cal con­text poten­ti­al­ly affects the enti­re voting popu­la­ti­on, not just poli­ti­cal office holders.

The plan adopted in Octo­ber 2022 Digi­tal Ser­vices Act pro­vi­des for due dili­gence obli­ga­ti­ons for ope­ra­tors of digi­tal plat­forms in the EU. In the area of micro-tar­ge­ting, it obli­ges the plat­forms, among other things, to dis­play infor­ma­ti­on to users about the cli­ents of the adver­ti­sing. It pro­hi­bits plat­forms from dis­play­ing adver­ti­sing based on so-cal­led sen­si­ti­ve data and requi­res them to crea­te an archi­ve for the adver­ti­sing and make it publicly accessible.

DETEC (Fede­ral Office of Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons) is pre­pa­ring a dis­cus­sion paper on behalf of the Fede­ral Coun­cil. This is to exami­ne whe­ther Swiss regu­la­ti­on of the plat­forms is appro­pria­te and what form such regu­la­ti­on might take.. The result of this work should not be anticipated.

Moti­on of the Fede­ral Coun­cil dated 16.11.22

The Fede­ral Coun­cil pro­po­ses that the moti­on be rejected.




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