Selling Political Data: How Political Ad Tech Firms’ Discourses Legitimate Microtargeting

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

In spite of mounting concerns about the use of microtargeting in politics and attendant regulatory pressure, spending on digital advertising and ad tech has significantly increased over the past decade. In this article, I explore how political ad tech firms pursue continuity for the high stakes business of political microtargeting. Specifically, I present findings from a discourse analysis of the websites of 34 political ad tech firms who have developed microtargeting tools. Applying van Leeuwen’s framework for legitimation in discourse to this analysis, I find that the firms legitimate microtargeting through four key discourses: Rationalization (“Microtargeting is the Right Approach”), mythopoesis (“Microtargeting is How you Win”), moral evaluation (“Microtargeting is the Democratic Thing to Do”), and Authorization (“Everybody’s Doing It”). I argue that these discourses offer insight for understanding and contextualizing ongoing discussions about the future of microtargeting in politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInformation for a Better World
Subtitle of host publicationShaping the Global Future - 17th International Conference, iConference 2022, Proceedings
EditorsMalte Smits
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Pages195-208
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783030969561
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Event17th International Conference on Information for a Better World: Shaping the Global Future, iConference 2022 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Feb 28 2022Mar 4 2022

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume13192 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Conference

Conference17th International Conference on Information for a Better World: Shaping the Global Future, iConference 2022
CityVirtual, Online
Period2/28/223/4/22

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Selling Political Data: How Political Ad Tech Firms’ Discourses Legitimate Microtargeting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this