Digital democracy Germany

Assessing online risks to Germany’s elections

Taking place in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, Germany’s September 2021 federal elections will take place in a context in which voters will be more active online than ever before. However, new risks emerge with the increased use of social media networks, messenger services and video platforms.

The political context for these elections makes them of particular interest to those who would spread disinformation: Angela Merkel’s departure from the chancellery, frictions caused by the pandemic, measures are taken to counter political extremism are only some of the factors. These, in combination with further erosion of support for Germany’s traditional parties, point to a reorientation of German politics.

In our latest report, written by Erik Meyer, with contributions by Michael Meyer-Resende and Helena Schwertheim, we examine factors that threaten online political campaigning in the following areas:

  • Paid online political advertising;
  • Hate speech;
  • Disinformation;
  • Foreign interference.

The report findings are based on expert roundtables hosted by DRI on 20 April and 27 April 2021. The report is available in English and in German.


In diesem Bericht untersuchen wir Bedrohungen für die Fairness der Online-Kampagne zur Bundestagswahl 2021, insbesondere bezahlte Onlinewerbung, Hassrede, Desinformation und ausländische Einflussnahme. Dieser Bericht wurde von Erik Meyer verfasst, mit Beiträgen von Michael Meyer-Resende und Helena Schwertheim. Die Ergebnisse des Berichts basieren auf den Experten-Roundtables, die von DRI am 20.April und 27. April 2021 veranstaltet wurden. Sie können den Bericht auf Englisch und Deutsch herunterladen.


DRI Report German Elections Risk Assessment Download
DRI Report German Elections Risk Assessment Deutsch Download

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