IGF 2023 WS #520 Disinformation and Political Advertising


Cybersecurity, Cybercrime & Online Safety

Organizer 1: Giovanni De Gregorio, 🔒Católica Global School of Law
Organizer 2: Paige Morrow, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

Speaker 1: Vladimir Misev, Intergovernmental Organization, Eastern European Group
Speaker 2: Caio Machado, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Catalina Goanta, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 4: Giovanni De Gregorio, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Paige Morrow, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization

Online Moderator

Paige Morrow, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization


Paige Morrow, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

What responsibilities come from the use of political advertising in times of elections?
What are examples of best/better practices of laws, policies or methodologies that are being used to combat disinformation and the challenges raised by political advertising?
Is the current regulatory framework for online campaigning adequate for the challenges we expect to see in the 2024 elections in the EU, USA and Global South (e.g. Indonesia)?

What will participants gain from attending this session? This panel proposal aims to explore the complex relationship between political advertising and disinformation, delving into the impact on public perception, democratic processes, and the role of various stakeholders in addressing this issue. By analyzing case studies, sharing research insights, and discussing potential policy solutions, this panel seeks to shed light on the interplay between political advertising and disinformation and propose effective strategies to mitigate its negative consequences. The goal of this panel is to identify viable solutions to the challenges posed by political advertising in the contemporary digital landscape.


Online disinformation poses a threat to civic discourse and electoral processes, especially when political messages are targeted at specific audiences, or when disinformation mixes with user generated content and is possibly amplified by platforms’ recommender systems. In particular, political advertising is increasingly shaping public opinion and influencing electoral outcomes. Even if political advertising is a well-known model in political marketing and propaganda, its significance has been amplified by the massive spread of false information online and, especially disinformation on social media, which has been aggravated by foreign interferences. The recent case of “disinformation for hire” has underlined the use of covert strategies for disseminating false content, and, more generally, the role of political influencers in addressing topics of public interest.

A number of measures have been adopted to address online disinformation in political advertising, including campaign rules that limit micro-targeting, which primarily have been adopted in the European policy framework such as the proposal on political advertising. In addition, measures to address the consequences of political advertising have led to adopting codes of conduct for political candidates, restrictions applied by platforms (either voluntarily or pursuant to national law), co-regulatory measures such as the European Strengthened Code of Practice.

Expected Outcomes

Enhanced understanding of the challenges and implications of disinformation and political advertising on democracy, public opinion, and electoral processes.
Identification of common ground and potential areas of collaboration among policymakers, researchers, media, and advertising industry representatives.
Exploration of effective policy frameworks that balance freedom of expression, transparency, and accountability in political advertising.
Increased awareness of self-regulatory initiatives and ethical considerations in disinformation and political advertising.

Hybrid Format: To enhance interaction, we will implement features such as live chat and Q&A functionalities within the video conferencing platform. This will enable online attendees to actively engage with speakers and ask questions in real-time, while onsite participants can also participate in the discussion. Moreover, we will encourage speakers to periodically address questions from both onsite and online participants to maintain inclusivity and ensure everyone's voices are heard.

To further increase participation and interaction, we may utilize complementary online tools/platforms such as polling tools, interactive whiteboards, or collaborative document sharing platforms. These tools can be used to gather opinions, brainstorm ideas, and foster collaboration among both onsite and online participants, creating a dynamic and engaging session for everyone involved.