Who Targets Me (us) and What Can I (we) Do About It – Katarzyna Szymielewicz's speech at the 2019 edition of Personal Democracy Forum is already available online (on YouTube).
We live in social networks on tech platforms. We were attracted there with the promise of access (to all the information possible), choice (personalised experience) and community. We would still like to think of ourselves as users. But after more than 10 years of this experiment we should rather define ourselves as targets. Our online profiles, based on three layers of data, serves as an exploited resource for commerical entities that organise our online life. The predictions that they form on the basis of our profiles are used to influence us, also in the context of politics. There is, however, scarce evidence of how the so-called political microtargeting is used. Tools developed by tech platforms have limitations: all we see are Facebook profiles and not real names, there is no detailed information abour criteria used for targeting, and we have to rely on what Facebook itself classified as political. Apart from new transparency and electoral regulations we need stronger evidence on what is really going on. And here comes our role as civil society organisations. This year, on the occassion of European elections and Polish parliamentary elections Panoptykon will test transparency tools for political advertising prepared by Facebook and Google as well as use the WhoTargetsMe plugin and build up our research with other methods.