Online targeting means a range of practices used to analyse information about people and then customise their online experience. It shapes what people see and do online. Two core uses of online targeting are personalised online advertising and content recommendation systems.
In 2019 the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation commissioned a Sciencewise supported dialogue to explore public opinion relating to the use of online targeting systems by a wide range of organisations including online platforms, online advertising companies and public sector organisations. The dialogue explored the potential harms and benefits of online targeting practices, and the potential governance of these practices.
This dialogue brought together 147 participants, aged 16+, in two days of discussions across seven locations in Great Britain in June and July 2019. During these workshops they heard expert testimonies and discussed hypothetical case studies. This process was developed with the support of Sciencewise and an Oversight Group comprised of academics, policy makers, consumer groups, data science institutes, and organisations involved in using online targeting.
After the workshops, telephone interviews were conducted with five participants to explore specific issues in more detail. Building on the public dialogue, an online survey was commissioned to further supplement the analysis in specific areas. This provided further clarity on the contexts in which online targeting is valued, and an improved understanding of the differences in opinion between key subgroups.
This dialogue was an important piece of evidence informing the CDEI’s Review Of Online Targeting and the outputs and value of it are set out in the CDEI’s full report.
This dialogue was delivered by Ipsos MORI.
This dialogue was evaluated by URSUS Consulting Ltd.