Transparent politics: spotlight on online political campaigning

Empirical data shows that Romanian political finance has potentially become less corrupt since decision-makers increased the value of subsidies for political parties and introduce reimbursement of electoral expenses. In the same time, political parties started to spend high sums from these subsidies on propaganda, affecting the independence on the media market through non-transparent marketing, as the 2022 EU Commission Rule of Law Report and the Council of Europe noted. EFOR calculated that the main political parties spend up to 70% of their annual budgets on promotional campaigns and media, without having the obligation to report publicly the detailed list of beneficiaries and do not have the obligation to mark the political advertising outside the elections, in spite of the constant pressure of the civil society, including EFOR. Although there is a legal proposal requiring political parties to mark and report political advertising there is not enough political will to pass such bill. Furthermore, the Social democrats and Liberals are creating frequent negative campaigns against the opposition or use the public subsidies for populistic and frequently misinformative campaigns, which can affect the level playing field in 2024, when Romania will organize four rounds of elections. Therefore, the project is important as it aims to make more transparent the manner in which political parties and third parties spend funds through online campaigns, but also to map the main topics which are promoted in social media by political parties. EFOR will advocate for better regulations on political advertising and aims to increase the capacity of journalists and civic activists to monitor political expenditure.

Main activities:

Develop a section on the platform reflecting political financing based on data from social media repositories and other reports

The section will reflect visually expenditure from Facebook Ads gallery and aims to also explore other sources of information. The section aims to reflect how much money politicians and political parties, as well as third parties spend on political advertising. EFOR will cover several years – in order to ensure also comparisons with electoral years – depending on the availability of data.

Track and outline the main topics promoted by political parties

EFOR will analyse the Facebook profiles (and other connected sources) of a number of main political parties and prominent politicians in order to map the main topics promoted. For the analysis, EFOR will engage the services of TreeWorks (, a Romanian well established service provider focused on online content.

Release the results of the research in a public event with international audience 

The website and the report will be released in a public event (online). EFOR will invite a broad audience including politicians, institutions, media and civic activists. Additionally, EFOR will host a dissemination event for the Community of Practice members.

Organize a training for journalists and civic activists

EFOR will organize an online technical training for journalists, tech experts and civic activists regarding the newly developed platform.


Since 2022, EFOR is part of the Global Online Campaigning Transparency Community of Practice, launched by IFES in recognition of innovation happening globally around online ad transparency and the detection of online campaign violations. The community brings together campaign oversight institutions, civil society, academics, and election observers to promote exchange and push forward global thinking and approaches.

For more details about the project please contact Septimius Pârvu (Expert Forum) at [email protected].

The project is supported by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), through the Research Fund, launched to support the IFES Online Campaigning Transparency Community of Practice (CoP). The Fund aims to encourage innovation by supporting the replication of successful practices and the development of new approaches that will increase transparency and accountability in online campaigning for democratic actors.

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