The Great Hack: In recent years the potential for social media to be used as an instrument for influencing the manipulation of consequential elections has become abundantly clear. How can the EU ensure the integrity of its own and its Member States’ elections whilst keeping in mind the freedom of political parties to advertise and promote themselves?

Submitted by: Matthieu Chiagano (IT), Roya Compier (NL), Yusuf Khalid (NL), Lesley Kwa (NL), Zara Nijzink-Laurie (NL), Christina Sandved (NL), Nynke van der Veer (NL), Hidde van Vloten (NL), FinnVries (NL), Joshua Kramer (Chairperson NL)

The European Youth Parliament,

  1. Noting with regret that political micro-targeting1  manipulates voters and creates unfair competition during elections,
  2. Considering that the option to opt-out of data collection becomes unavailable when data is collected anonymously,
  3. Observing the lack of digital awareness due to unclear cookie policies on social media,
  4. Seriously concerned by the lack of transparency on data usage by data analytics and social media companies,
  5. Acknowledging the lack of enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)2 such as the lack of application and jurisprudence,
  6. Regretting the lack of responsibility taken by social media platforms in limiting political micro-targeting,
  7. Alarmed by the number of political parties that apply micro-targeting in their campaigns,
  8. Recognising that the fast development of methods for data collection used by data analytics corporation results in legislation lagging behind,
  9. Aware of the abuse of the core principle of data mobility by data analytics companies;


  1. Urges the European Commission to ensure that data collecting companies grant users control over their data when it is collected anonymously;
  2. Advises the European Commission to amend the GDPR to differentiate between the necessary and unnecessary types of data;
  3. Proposes the European Commission to initiate legislation that:
    1. allows users to clearly understand that a political advertisement is micro-targeted,
    2. gives users the option to view other advertisements that were posted by the profile that posted the advertisement;
  4. Requests Member States to create legislation allowing users of social media platforms to see who paid for political advertisements, similar to the Dutch Social Media Advertising Code;
  5. Suggests the European Commission creates legislation to hold social media platforms accountable for irresponsible political micro-targeting, punishable by fines;
  6. Calls upon the European Commission to create legislation obliging social media platforms to openly disclose information regarding micro-targeting of political parties on specific user groups; 


  1. Calls upon the European Commission to increase financial support to the National Data Protection Authorities 3 of Member States with major European social media headquarters;
  2. Invites Member States to institute a common education program on digital awareness in regards to micro-targeting;
  3. Encourages the European Cooperation Network on elections4 to monitor the budget political parties can spend on micro-targeted advertisements for their campaigns;

European Data Protection Board (EDPB)5

  1. Urges the EDPB to create a policy that obliges social media platforms to summarize and simplify the terms and conditions regarding the treatment of users’ data;
  2. Calls upon the EDPB to create a committee of experts in charge of revising legislation to advise Member States and companies on compliance with data protection rules.


  1. Political micro-targeting is a form of advertising by political parties that involves analyzing individuals’ personal data, and weaponizing that data to tailor advertisements to their individual susceptibilities, effectively manipulating voting behavior.
  2. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the protection of personal data and enhances digital privacy for people located in the EU.
  3. National Data Protection Authorities are independent public authorities that supervise the application of data protection law, with investigative and corrective power.National Data Protection Authorities are independent public authorities that supervise the application of data protection law, with investigative and corrective power.
  4. The European Cooperation network on elections brings together representatives of Member States’ authorities with competences in electoral matters, and facilitates exchange of knowledge on ensuring free and fair elections in several fields including data protection.
  5. The European Data Protection Board is an independent European body that contributes to consistent application of data protection rules throughout the EU. The board consists of representatives of National Data Protection Authorities and the European Data Protection Supervisor.