The project extends and empirically tests a theoretical framework of data-driven campaigning using a mixture of research methods and a comparative perspective. The project will offer a deeper understanding of online data-driven targeting techniques during elections in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and United Kingdom.
Data-driven campaigns: intended and unintended consequences for democracy (DATADRIVEN)
The project DATADRIVEN studies if data-driven campaigns using online micro-targeting techniques threaten democracy. The consortium will focus on the intended and unintended consequences of data-driven targeting and digital persuasion. In light of ongoing political and societal turmoil, investigating how citizens may be persuaded in a turbulent age and a changing media landscape has never been more important. The studies will focus on a micro (consequences for citizens), meso (consequences for political elites), and macro-level effects (consequences for democracy).
The project’s main research questions are:
- How do organizations shape election campaigns by targeting potential voters online during elections
- What constitutional and legislative frameworks are shaping the extent and nature of data-driven campaigning in European countries?
- How are data-driven targeting practices perceived?
- To what extent do data-driven targeting practices affect voters?
Professor Dr. Sanne Kruikemeier, University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands)
Prof. Dr. Sanne Kruikemeier is an Associate Professor in Political Communication and Journalism in the Communication Science department of the University of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam School of Communication Research. She is a member of the Amsterdam Young Academy and co-chair of the political communication division of the Netherlands-Flanders Communication Association.
Dr. Katharina Dommett, University of Sheffield (UK)
Dr. Katharina Dommett is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests include digital campaigning, political parties, data use, and public perceptions. Dr. Dommett has published extensively on digital campaigning, the implications of digital technology for institutions, and the use of data in elections. In earlier work, she focused mainly on political parties, and her book, The Reimagined Party, was published in 2020. Dr. Dommett was recently awarded the 2020 Richard Rose Prize by the Political Studies Association for an early-career scholar who has made a distinctive contribution to British politics. This award recognized her work as Special Advisor to the House of Lords Committee on Democracy and Digital Technology and her extensive engagement in public policy debates.
Professor Dr. Rachel Gibson, University of Manchester (UK)
Prof. Dr. Rachel Gibson is a Professor of Politics at the University of Manchester, having joined the Department and Politics and Institute for Social Change in December 2007. Between 2016 and 2019, she served as Director of the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research. She is currently running a 5-year international project, ‘Digital Campaigning and Electoral Democracy’ (DiCED), funded by the European Research Council as an Advanced Investigator Grant. Previous appointments include Professor of New Media Studies at the University of Leicester and Lecturer in Politics at the University of Salford. She completed her Ph.D. thesis on the rise of anti-immigrant parties in Western Europe in the late 20th century at Texas A&M University in the US. She has held visiting fellowships at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), the Australian National University (ANU), and the Autonomous University in Barcelona (AUB). Rachel has led several projects examining the impact of the Internet on political parties, campaigns, and voters funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC). She has been a PI/Co-I on the Australian Election Study since 2001 and the Australian Candidate Study. She was co-editor of the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties (2011-16) and is a current Editorial Board member of generalist and specialist journals in the field, including Political Studies, the Journal of Information Technology and Politics. She is a member of the Peer Review College of the ESRC and regularly reviews for the leading journals in the field and significant national and international funding bodies.
Professor Dr. Sophie Lecheler, University of Vienna (Austria)
Prof. Dr. Sophie Lecheler is a Professor of Political Communication at the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna. She previously worked at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) at the University of Amsterdam and the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her work has been published in a wide range of international journals, such as Communication Research, Journal of Communication, New Media & Society, Journalism Studies, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Media Psychology, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Journalism, Communication Monographs, Communication Yearbook, and the International Journal of Press/Politics.
Professor Dr. Claes de Vreese, University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands)
Prof. Dr. Claes de Vreese is a Distinguished University Professor of AI & Society at the University of Amsterdam, focusing on AI, media, and democracy. He is the incoming scientific director of the Digital Democracy Center at SDU and a Danish Institute for Advanced Studies member. He was the founding director of the Center for Politics and Communication and co-directs the University of Amsterdam initiatives Information, Communication & the Data Society (ICDS), Human(e) AI, and the Digital Media Methods Lab. He is a member of the ICA Executive Committee and served as President 2020-21. His research interests span from media, public opinion, and electoral behavior to the role of data and AI in democratic processes.
Dr. Lukas Otto, Amsterdam School of Communication Research (the Netherlands)
Dr. Lukas Otto is an assistant professor for Political Communication and Journalism at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research / ASCoR. Previously I was a PostDoc/Senior lecturer at the Institute for Communication Psychology and Media Education, University of Koblenz-Landau, where I did my Ph.D. (“Softening trust – Effects of Soft News Characteristics on Trust in Politicians”). His research focuses on political communication, media psychology, and communication research methods. More precisely, he is investigating the effects of digital political communication (a) effects of negativity, incivility, and toxic talk in political communication online, as well as (b) effects of political microtargeting. He is also interested in studying communication dynamics through innovative methods such as experience sampling. He primarily applies comparative designs investigating cultural differences in political communication usage, perception, and effects. His work was published in top journals such as Communication Theory, Communication Research, Digital Journalism, Journal of Communication, Political Communication. Lukas Otto is the secretary of the Political Communication Division at the International Communication Association.
Professor Dr. Jörg Matthes, University of Vienna (Austria)
Prof. Dr. Jörg Matthes is a Professor of Communication Science and a Head of the Department of Communication, University of Vienna, Austria. He is currently Associate Editor of The Journal of Advertising. In addition, he has served as Associate Editor for Human Communication Research, Communication Methods & Measures, the Journal of Communication, and Editor of Communication Methods & Measures. His research focuses on (digital) media effects, public opinion formation, and empirical methods.
Professor Dr. Rens Vliegenthart, Amsterdam School of Communication Research (the Netherlands)
Prof. Dr. Rens Vliegenthart is a full professor of Media and Society at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam. He is also the scientific director of ASCoR. His research focuses on analyzing media content and its effects on both citizens and public opinion and politicians and political decision-making. Rens specializes in (automated) content analysis and time series analysis. His research is published in many communication science, political science, and sociology journals and is funded by grants from the Dutch science foundation (e.g., VENI, VIDI, NWA).
Dr. Andrew Barclay, University of Sheffield (UK)
Dr. Andrew Barclay is a Research Associate in Politics at the University of Sheffield, having gained his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester. His thesis concerned the political behavior of British Jews, and he has a broader research interest in the study of elections, public opinion, and political behavior. Dr. Barclayhas recently published in Electoral Studies and Politics & Religion. In addition to academic publications, he has given commentary on the voting preferences of religious voters and the electoral consequences of antisemitism within the British Labour party.
Susan Vermeer, Amsterdam School of Communication Research (the Netherlands)
Susan Vermeer is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) of the University of Amsterdam. She wrote her dissertation about news consumption in a digital society and how this affects political interest and participation. Methodologically, she is interested in using computational methods (e.g., automated content analysis, network analysis, collecting tracking data) to study political communication and digital journalism.
Selina Noetzel, University of Vienna (Austria)
Selina Noetzel is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna. She functions as a pre-doctoral researcher in the Advertising and Media Effects Research Group. She studied Communication Science at the University of Vienna (MSc) and the German Sport University Cologne (DSHS Köln, B.A.). Her main research interests include political microtargeting, media psychology, and media literacy.
Xiaotong Chu, Amsterdam School of Communication Research (the Netherlands)
Xiaotong Chu is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) of the University of Amsterdam. Her research focuses on the effects of targeting practices in modern electoral campaigns on individual-level responses. She has experience in quantitative research methods such as automatic content analysis, experiments, etc.
Sophie Minihold, University of Vienna (Austria)
Sophie Minihold is a Ph.D. Candidate in Communication Science at the University of Vienna (Political Communication Research Group) and the University of Amsterdam. She studied Communication Science at the University of Vienna (Bakk. Phil.) and the University of Amsterdam (research master; MSc.). During her joint-Ph.D program, she researches the digital campaign competence of voters in data-driven election campaigns in European multi-party systems.
Marlis Stubenvoll, University of Vienna (Austria)
Marlis Stubenvoll is a pre-doctoral researcher at the Department of Communication at the University of Vienna. In October 2018, she was awarded a uni:docs fellowship for her dissertation topic “Why Misinformation Persists: The Role of Resistance to Corrections in Political News.” She obtained her master’s degree in the Erasmus Mundus program Journalism, Media, and Globalisation from the University of Aarhus and the University of Amsterdam. Her research interests include mis- and disinformation, resistance to persuasion, the effects of political micro-targeting, and climate change communication.