In contemporary American politics, Big Tech companies provide sophisticated advertising interfaces that enable anyone to target specific voters by demographic. These companies defend their tools as “neutral” to evade culpability for discriminatory ads. Yet, such microtargeted advertising presents a significant threat to democracy. This Article advances a possible two-pronged solution to bar online platforms from targeting political ads based on a user’s protected class. First, this Article promotes a largely unexplored tactic: extending Title II of the Civil Rights Act into the digital space so that behavior that would be impermissibly discriminatory offline is not permitted online. Second, this Article suggests that impacted users should focus their suits not on ad content, but on platforms’ design choices and the underlying data harnessed for the service of ads. Ultimately, the goal of this Article is to prevent the online voter suppression tactics deployed through these advertising services.
De-class-ifying Microtargeted Political Advertising,
Fordham L. Voting Rts. & Democracy F.
Available at: https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/vrdf/vol1/iss2/8