Political Microtargeting: A Mixed Method Study in a Multi-Party System

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för informatik

Abstract: This study investigates political microtargeting in a multi-party context, more specifically, in a Swedish setting. By utilizing a mixed-method approach, the objective of the study is twofold. Firstly, interviewing researchers and political parties regarding their perception of microtargeting to generate a holistic view around the technology and its utilization. Secondly, implementing a survey with the intention to understand the public opinion concerning microtargeting. The results have been contrasted with an extensive literature review regarding the phenome-non. Through the literature review, several aspects that may possibly affect the applicability of microtargeting were identified. These aspects were included in a conceptual framework that operates as an analysis tool for the study. The findings indicate that a multi-party system and legal restriction does not inhibit the utilization of microtargeting as prior literature suggests. The result further displays that other regulations in Sweden enable an effective data gathering process. However, the public perception of microtargeting is somewhat problematic from a user standpoint – for instance, a fear of filter bubbles in terms of skewing the user’s perception of a certain topic is identified. Furthermore, there is no inclination to change online behaviour, more specifically, to trade convenience over privacy.

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