Personal Data: Political Persuasion Guidebook

A deep dive into data-driven campaigning, uncovering the tools that are used to understand, target and influence voters around the world.

From geotargeting in Guyana to A/B Testing in the UK; from third-party tracking in Colombia to campaign apps in India; there are dozens of methods being used to sway citizens’ political views by leveraging the data they give away.

Going beyond the widely covered micro-targeting services of Facebook that enable political parties to target users based on their personal data, we look at the lesser known but equally widespread techniques that use personal data for political campaigning. It is only by getting a view of the breadth, depth and scale of the techniques that we can begin to understand their relevance to the current political moment.

The guide, featuring case studies from around the world, gives clear descriptions of thirteen of the methods, explaining how they work, how they use personal data and the advantages and risks that they pose to political processes.

Some examples include:

  • Official campaign mobile apps requesting camera and microphone permissions in India
  • Door-to-door canvassing apps pinpointing conservative voters on maps in France
  • A breach of 55 million registered voters’ data in the Philippines
  • A robocalling-driven voter suppression campaign in Canada
  • Controlling voters’ first impressions with attack ads on search engines in Kenya
  • Using experimentation to select a slogan and trigger emotional responses from Brexit voters

Click here to download the guide Personal Data: Political Persuasion - How it worksDownload PDF

First published: November 16, 2023