Urgent action is needed to make sure the upcoming EU elections aren’t wide open to abuse—and we need your help. At the moment, our election laws around political advertising and campaigning online are dangerously out of date. We want Parliament to overhaul our election and political advertising rules to make future elections open and accountable. You can read more about the risks presented by our out-dated election laws in our recent blog.
What do we need to change?
There are two changes that we believe can be implemented quickly in order to protect the EU elections next month. Firstly, online campaign materials must state who is promoting them so that voters know who is targeting them online. The ‘imprint law’ currently exists for offline material but the law urgently needs to be updated to extend to online campaigning.
Secondly, advertising must be transparent and open to scrutiny for elections to remain a shared experience. We need a public database of online political ads, provided in real time, in machine readable format and with full information on content, targeting, reach and spend to guarantee transparency.
We’re calling on the Government to act but we need to show politicians that this really matters. That’s where you come in.
How can Full Fact supporters make their voices heard?
- Search for your MP and find their contact details on the UK Parliament website.
- Email them explaining why you believe that open, accountable election campaigning is vital to protect our democracy and ask them to take action to secure urgent reforms.
- Let us know what they say!
What should I write?
Tell them how you feel - MPs want to hear from their constituents and more personalised emails often get a better response. To help you get started, here’s some key messages from our campaign:
- Any election held now would be wide open to abuse. Our election laws around political advertising and campaigning online are dangerously out of date and not fit for the digital age.
- We think online campaign materials must state who is promoting them so that voters know who is targeting them online (this is already required for all print materials)
- We also need a public database of online political ads with full information on content, targeting, reach and spend to guarantee transparency.
- Internet companies have taken some steps to increase transparency without waiting for parliament to catch up, this isn’t nearly enough. Our election rules should be set through open, democratic, transparent processes in Parliament—not drafted in the terms and conditions of private companies.
- We need change now - so that the EU elections next month and future general elections are fair and democratic.
Why Full Fact is doing this
Full Fact’s core work is factchecking individual claims in public debate, tracing them back to their original sources, and giving our readers enough evidence to make up their own minds about the claims. Where necessary, we ask people to correct the record. This work gives us a unique evidence base about how misinformation arises and spreads.
Full Fact does not express opinions about the matters we factcheck—that’s our readers’ job. We will comment on issues like access to information or the quality of official statistics which directly affect our mission to support well informed public debate, and where our experience and evidence can contribute to the debate for the public benefit.
As more and more election campaigning shifts into untraceable online campaigns and dark ads, it will become impossible for factcheckers, journalists, and voters to scrutinise the campaigns. Democracy can’t work if elections aren’t a shared experience, and that’s why we feel it’s necessary for us to speak up now.
Thank you for taking a stand with us.