Elections: Internet

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 5th June 2019.

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Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will issue a response to the recommendations published by FullFact on 12 April 2019 on reform of electoral laws governing online campaigning.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

The Government is committed to increasing transparency in digital campaigning. On 5 May 2019, the Government announced that candidates, political parties and non-party campaigners will be required to brand or ‘imprint’ their digital election materials, so the public is clear who is targeting them. The Government will bring forward the technical proposal for this regime later on this year.

Whilst there are no current plans for a database of online political adverts, we are encouraging action to increase transparency of wider political advertising online. Several social media companies have already implemented tools to enhance transparency about the origins of political and electoral adverts on their platforms, including political advert libraries. However, these efforts have been inconsistent and the Government is clear that more could be done. As such, the Online Harms White Paper, published on 8 April 2019, proposes that under the new online safety regulatory framework platforms could be required to improve transparency of political advertising, as part of their duty of care to protect their users from disinformation.

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