The regulation of online political ads in Indonesia

PI spoke to partner ELSAM about their research on the regulation of online political ads in Brazil, obstacles to online ads transparency, and coming challenges.



In recent years, the use of online political campaigning has gained significant traction, with regulatory bodies often struggling to catch up. The unregulated use of political ads can pose threats to transparency, and all the more so when online platforms fail to play their part.

We at PI, together with ELSAM, are investigating the reach, effectiveness and impact of regulation by social media platforms and electoral authorities on online political advertising. Our research has shown that social media platforms’ self-regulation of political ads remains fragmented, with each platform operating fluctuating and often widely differing transparency standards for different countries. Some of these countries benefit from heightened transparency standards for political ads; others are offered significantly less information. Indonesia is an interesting illustration of evolving standards: while the 2019 general elections did not benefit from heightened transparency standards, the 2020 local elections saw the implementation of mandatory transparency tools by Facebook. No heightened transparency tools have been provided by Google.

In December 2020, PI spoke to Alia Yofira to discuss the evolving regulation of online political advertising in Indonesia, the connection between platform self-regulation and electoral reform, and current challenges to transparency of online political ads.