2023 APSA ITP Best Journal Article Award

With this award, the APSA ITP section recognizes the best article published in Information Technology and Politics (ITP) in 2022.

B. Guinaudeau, K. Munger & F. Votta. 2022. Fifteen Seconds of Fame: TikTok and the Supply-Side of Social Video. Computational Communication Research



TikTok has rapidly developed from a punchline for jokes about “kids these days” into a formidable force in American politics. The speed of this development is unprecedented, even in the rapidly-changing world of digital politics. Through a combination of hashtag and snowball sampling, we identify 11,546 TikTok accounts who primarily post about politics, allowing us to analyze trends in the posting, viewing and commenting behavior on 1,998,642 tiktoks they have uploaded.

We test a number of theories about how the unique combination of affordances on TikTok shapes how it is used for political communication. Compared to the dominant platform for political videos (YouTube) we find that a higher percentage of TikTok users upload videos, TikTok view counts are more dominated by virality, and viewership of videos are less dependent on a given accounts’ number of followers/subscribers. We discuss how these findings affect the production of content that ultimately determines the experience of TikTok consumers.

2023 ICA Best Paper Award in Political Communication

This award is given to the best paper presented in the Political Communication division at the International Communication Association (ICA) annual conference in Toronto 2023.

F. Votta, B. Guinaudeau, T. Dobber, N. Helberger and C de Vreese. Unpublished. Algorithmic Microtargeting? Testing the Influence of the Meta Ad Delivery Algorithm


Increasingly, political campaigns use digital ads to seek out potential voters, and companies like Meta offer advertisers detailed targeting options such as criteria based on user demographics, behaviors, and interests. An underexplored feature of digital advertising on social media platforms is the use of so-called ad delivery algorithms. These algorithms set prices via ad auctions and deliver ads to “relevant” audiences without the explicit knowledge or intention of advertisers, prompting the question of whether this process may constitute an algorithmic form of microtargeting.

To investigate the delivery and pricing of political ads, we collaborated with three Dutch political parties to place on their Facebook and Instagram accounts a total of 135 identical ads targeting nine different audiences before the country’s nationwide 2022 municipal elections. Ads ran with the same settings, at the same time, using the same daily budgets, texts, and images to ensure any differences in pricing and delivery are due to the advertiser and target audiences.

Our pre-registered hypotheses expect that political parties reach more people and pay lower prices when ads are targeted at “relevant” audiences. We find pricing and delivery differences between parties and audiences, but not always as expected. We find evidence that some parties are charged more than others, with one party paying 9.24% to 10.74% less to reach 1000 users. Furthermore, lower-educated citizens, women, and younger people (18-24 year olds) are more expensive for political parties to reach.

These findings have significant implications for political parties and democracy. The fact that parties are charged different prices for the same reach creates unfair competition and an uneven playing field. Our finding that certain groups are less likely to receive political ads means they are potentially more isolated from receiving election-related information on Meta platforms. Finally, our findings suggest that simply banning or severely limiting targeting capabilities, without addressing the potential for algorithmic microtargeting, would mean that ad delivery algorithms still deliver ads to specific groups without oversight or transparency.