Publication | Report/Paper

IFES Election Case Law Analysis Series: Lessons for Regulating Campaigning on Social Media

Ahead of an election, where is the line between expressing political opinions online and campaigning? Can citizens who are not affiliated with a political party or candidate be held liable for campaign violations for posts on social media? Can conduct online lead to the annulment of an election? Since most countries have not adapted their legal frameworks to the realities of online campaigning, applying campaign regulations to content disseminated via social media platforms can be challenging. Drawing on an extensive collection of comparative case law housed in the database, Lessons for Regulating Campaigning on Social Media highlights some of the challenges that arise when applying regulations designed for offline campaigns to online conduct and provides important considerations for policymakers grappling with the regulation of social media during campaigns.

This paper is the second in the International Foundation for Electoral Systems’ (IFES) Election Case Law Analysis Series, which presents curated data and analysis from, a newly launched and accessible global database of judicial decisions on election cases. Intended to facilitate the exchange of sound precedents across jurisdictions, the database is a resource for judges, election professionals, policymakers and researchers who are working to resolve disputes and prevent violations for more credible elections around the world. To date, nearly 200 national judgments from more than 50 countries have been collected in the database, along with a variety of additional resources and regional case law. The database is updated on a periodic basis and welcomes contributions through this contact form.

IFES’ Election Case Law Analysis Series: Lessons for Regulating Campaigning on Social Media

Authors: Alexandra Brown, Legal and Research Officer, Center for Applied Research and Learning; Lisa Reppell, Specialist, Global Social Media and Disinformation

Contributors: Patrick Quimby, Legal Fellow; Typhaine Roblot, Senior Legal and Justice Advisor

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