From “old” filter bubbles to political microtargeting

How powerful is the profiling on social media? How to increase its accountability?

Track 01 – Re-imagining the digital public sphere

Social media companies have undoubtedly a great impact on the shape of public discourse and how we access information. For the majority of internet users, social media is the gateway to learn about the news, get a sense of what other think and to share their own opinions.

At the same time those companies are not taking civic responsibilities even though their algorithms are central to how information is consumed in the world today. The business model of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is based on monetising user traffic which enable clickbait and misinformation to proliferate.

While filter bubbles are not unique to social networks, we are still far from understanding their mechanics and potential effects on the society. Similar concerns relate to the use of microtargeting in social media…

Is election politics being re-shaped in the digital age? Should we expect more transparency and accountability from social media companies with regard to algorithms and targeting techniques they use and how those tools are used in political campaigns? Can data protection law help us in this fight?


  • Katarzyna Szymielewicz, Panoptykon Foundation (PL)
  • Jeffrey Chester, Center for Digital Democracy (USA)
  • Frederike Kaltheuner, Privacy International (UK)


  • Rocco Bellanova, University of Amsterdam and Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles