Many thanks to the students from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin for their collaboration and research which forms the basis for this piece, Rika Melke and Luisa Zimmer.
In the lead up to the 2017 German federal elections, campaigners, journalists and the public thoroughly discussed the benefits and dangers of data analytics for political purposes. (Jungherr, Andres: Datengestützte Verfahren im Wahlkampf, 2017.) According to the final report issued by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on 27th November 2017, the German federal elections, in principle, ran transparently and without manipulation. Despite this, there were some controversies concerning the use of data and the lack of information provided by political parties also raised certain concerns. For example, it was reported that a Deutsche Post subsidiary directly sold personal data to clients including German political parties; the Christian Democrats party also developed an app for use in canvassing, which created a feedback loop between party headquarters and door-to-door volunteers, and that drew on data from the federal statistics office and polling agencies; and, the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) reportedly hired a Texas-based company for their campaign in order to use digital ads to micro-target Germans whose backgrounds made them likely converts.
In the lead up to the 2017 German federal election (Bundestagswahl), all political parties used social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and e-mails as platforms to reach voters. The far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD) reportedly hired a Texas-based company for their
In the lead up to the German elections, the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) created a mobile app, Connect 17, which was designed to create a feedback loop between party headquarters and door-to-door volunteers (also known as canvassers). The app drew on data from the federal statistics
The Sunday edition of the national newspaper Bild reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) party and the centre-right Free Democrats (FDP) party purchased "more than a billion" pieces of personal data about potential voters from a subsidiary of Deutsche Post