The reported use of Facebook data for targeted political advertising is deeply concerning to ISBA and its members for a number of reasons:

  • Personal Facebook data has come into the hands of third parties on a large scale without explicit, informed user consent.
  • It is claimed that the data has been used for psychographic profiling and covert, micro-targeted advertising, exploiting voters’ fears and prejudices.
  • Concerns about the existence and use of this data have been public for a considerable period of time. Facebook relied on self-certification that the data had been deleted.
  • It has also been claimed that other apps, pre-dating mid-2015, have collected and distributed similar bodies of data, with inadequate controls.

ISBA’s position is that:

  • The use of personal data is governed by the Data Protection Act, which prohibits use without consent, except in exceptional circumstances. ISBA welcomes the forthcoming introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which strengthens the law on data protection and privacy for all individuals in the European Union.
  • Political advertising in the UK requires greater transparency and regulation. ISBA believes political advertising should be brought within the remit of the ASA, with an appropriate funding mechanism.
  • The claims that other apps using the Facebook platform, and predating mid-2015, have collected similar bodies of personal data and that controls for distribution have been inadequate, raise questions about the possibility that Facebook data has been, or is being used improperly elsewhere. ISBA is asking Facebook for a full account of further potential issues so that advertisers can take appropriate measures.

Download the statement here.

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Written 21st March 2018
By Phil Smith