Political parties facing investigation over targeting of voters on Twitter and Facebook

Political parties are facing an investigation into whether they are breaking the law targeting voters with highly personalised adverts on Facebook.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a formal investigation into the political use of private data amid concerns over allegations involving an analytics firm linked to a Brexit campaign.

In March, pro-Remain Labour MP Stephen Kinnock called on the Electoral Commission to investigate allegations that Leave.EU had not declared the role of the firm, Cambridge Analytica (CA), in its campaign.

The ICO then announced that it was conducting an assessment of the data protection risks arising from the use of data analytics for political purposes.

Elizabeth Denham, the UK Information Commissioner, said she wanted the new probe to “shine the light” on how voters’ data is used during political campaigns.

When asked on BBC Radio 4 how worried people should be about their Facebook posts being used to map online activity for political purposes, she said: “We think that there are a lot of question marks out there.