Natali Helberger

Natali Helberger
University of Amsterdam | UVA · Institute for Information Law

About

117
Publications
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2,626
Citations

Publications

Publications (117)
Preprint
Recommender systems are the algorithms which select, filter, and personalize content across many of the worlds largest platforms and apps. As such, their positive and negative effects on individuals and on societies have been extensively theorized and studied. Our overarching question is how to ensure that recommender systems enact the values of th...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has created one of the largest medical, financial, and social disruption in history. In the fight against this virus, many European governments have turned to collecting and using online data (for various technological applications) as a key strategic remedy. This study consists of data from a national representative survey in...
Article
The Facebook Ad Library promises to improve transparency and accountability in online advertising by rendering personalised campaigns visible to the public. This article investigates whether and how journalists have made use of this tool in their reporting. Our content analysis of print journalism reveals several different use cases, from high-leve...
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Algorithms are widely used in our data-driven media landscape. Many misconceptions have arisen about how these algorithms work and what they can do. In this study, we conducted a large representative survey ( N = 2,106) in the Netherlands to explore algorithmic misconceptions. Results showed that a significant part of the general population holds (...
Article
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In contrast to the extensive debate on the influence of algorithmic news recommenders (ANRs) on individual news diets, the interaction between such systems and journalistic norms and missions remain under-studied. The change in the relationship between journalists and the audience caused by the transition to personalized news delivery has profound...
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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduced in 2018 in the EU aims to give consumers a high degree of control over their data online in order to allow them to protect their privacy. It also puts high transparency requirements for websites that collect and process data. In fact, consumers have to be informed about technical and legal as...
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Recently, WhatsApp allowed commercial brands to initiate private chat conversations with users through their direct messaging platform. With more than 1 billion users, it is important to have insights into their trust in brands on WhatsApp, as well as their willingness to disclose personal information to these brands. Using data from a national rep...
Article
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News diversity in the media has for a long time been a foundational and uncontested basis for ensuring that the communicative needs of individuals and society at large are met. Today, people increasingly rely on online content and recommender systems to consume information challenging the traditional concept of news diversity. In addition, the very...
Preprint
News recommenders help users to find relevant online content and have the potential to fulfill a crucial role in a democratic society, directing the scarce attention of citizens towards the information that is most important to them. Simultaneously, recent concerns about so-called filter bubbles, misinformation and selective exposure are symptomati...
Article
The ongoing substitution of human decision makers by automated decision-making (ADM) systems in a whole range of areas raises the question of whether and, if so, under which conditions ADM is acceptable and fair. So far, this debate has been primarily led by academics, civil society, technology developers and members of the expert groups tasked to...
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While data-driven personalization strategies are permeating all areas of online communication, the impact for individuals and society as a whole is still not fully understood. Drawing on Facebook as a case study, we combine online tracking and self-reported survey data to assess who gets targeted with what content. We tested relationships between u...
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Fueled by ever-growing amounts of (digital) data and advances in artificial intelligence, decision-making in contemporary societies is increasingly delegated to automated processes. Drawing from social science theories and from the emerging body of research about algorithmic appreciation and algorithmic perceptions, the current study explores the e...
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To advance the emerging research field of computational advertising this article describes the new computational advertising ecosystem, identifies key actors within it and interactions among them, and discusses future research agendas. Specifically, we propose systematic conceptualization for the redefined advertising industry, consumers, governmen...
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Deepfakes are perceived as a powerful form of disinformation. Although many studies have focused on detecting deepfakes, few have measured their effects on political attitudes, and none have studied microtargeting techniques as an amplifier. We argue that microtargeting techniques can amplify the effects of deepfakes, by enabling malicious politica...
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The article contributes both conceptually and methodologically to the study of online news consumption by introducing new approaches to measuring user information behaviour and proposing a typology of users based on their click behaviour. Using as a case study two online outlets of large national newspapers, it employs computational approaches to d...
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This contribution critically reviews the ongoing policy initiatives in Europe to impose greater societal responsibility on social media platforms. I discuss the current regulatory approach of treating social platforms as mere 'intermediaries' of the speech of others and propose a different perspective. Instead of perceiving platforms as intermediar...
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With the increasing use of algorithms in news distribution, commentators warn about its possible impacts on the changing relationship between the news media and news readers. To understand the meaning of news personalisation strategies to users, we investigated how they currently experience news personalisation, perceive their role in the personali...
Preprint
Full-text available
News diversity in the media has for a long time been a foundational and uncontested basis for ensuring that the communicative needs of individuals and society at large are met. Today, people increasingly rely on online content and recommender systems to consume information challenging the traditional concept of news diversity. In addition, the very...
Preprint
Full-text available
News diversity in the media has for a long time been a foundational and uncontested basis for ensuring that the communicative needs of individuals and society at large are met. Today, people increasingly rely on online content and recommender systems to consume information challenging the traditional concept of news diversity. In addition, the very...
Article
As people increasingly rely on online media and recommender systems to consume information, engage in debates and form their political opinions, the design goals of online media and news recommenders have wide implications for the political and social processes that take place online and offline. Current recommender systems have been observed to pr...
Chapter
Full-text available
By helping the user find relevant and important online content, news recommenders have the potential to fulfill a crucial role in a democratic society. Simultaneously, recent concerns about filter bubbles, fake news and selective exposure are symptomatic of the disruptive potential of these digital news recommenders. Recommender systems can make or...
Chapter
In today’s digital world, activities that were once private or shared with a group of selected others are open to public scrutiny as we leave our digital footprint when we visit websites and submit information to online services (Acquisti, Brandimarte, and Loewenstein 2015). As a result, advertisers have access to a wide range of data about consume...
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Are algorithmic news recommenders a threat to the democratic role of the media? Or are they an opportunity, and, if so, how would news recommenders need to be designed to advance values and goals that we consider essential in a democratic society? These are central questions in the ongoing academic and policy debate about the likely implications of...
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Data collection and processing for personalized advertising has become a common practice in the industry. For this reason, regulators have been aiming to empower consumers to exercise more control over their data. Companies that collect and process data for personalized advertising are required to be transparent and among others, provide consumers...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into personalisation from a practitioner’s perspective to bridge the practitioner-academia gap and steer the research agenda. A wide scope of research has investigated personalisation from a consumer perspective. The current study aims at bridging the consumer and practitioner perspective by...
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Available open access! Using survey evidence from the Netherlands, we explore the factors that influence news readers’ attitudes toward news personalization. We show that the value of personalization depends on commonly overlooked factors, such as concerns about a shared news sphere, and the depth and diversity of recommendations. However, these...
Article
The deployment of various forms of AI, most notably of machine learning algorithms, radically transforms many domains of social life. In this paper we focus on the news industry, where different algorithms are used to customize news offerings to increasingly specific audience preferences. While this personalization of news enables media organizatio...
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Tailored political messages are increasingly prevalent in election time, but we know little about how people perceive such data-driven and potentially privacy-infringing techniques. This article examines how demographics relate to privacy concerns and attitudes toward “political behavioral targeting” (PBT), how privacy concerns and attitudes toward...
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The privacy calculus suggests that online self-disclosure is based on a cost-benefit trade-off. However, although companies progressively collect information to offer tailored services, the effect of both personalization and context-dependency on self-disclosure has remained understudied. Building on the privacy calculus, we hypothesized that benef...
Article
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Prompted by the ongoing development of content personalization by social networks and mainstream news brands, and recent debates about balancing algorithmic and editorial selection, this study explores what audiences think about news selection mechanisms and why. Analysing data from a 26-country survey (N = 53,314), we report the extent to which au...
Article
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In the debate about filter bubbles caused by algorithmic news recommendation, the conceptualization of the two core concepts in this debate, diversity and algorithms, has received little attention in social scientific research. This paper examines the effect of multiple recommender systems on different diversity dimensions. To this end, it maps dif...
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Online platforms, from Facebook to Twitter, and from Coursera to Uber, have become deeply involved in a wide range of public activities, including journalism, civic engagement, education, and transport. As such, they have started to play a vital role in the realization of important public values and policy objectives associated with these activitie...
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More and more news is personalised, based on our personal data and interests. As a result, the focus of media regulation moves from the news producer to the news recipient. This research asks what the fundamental right to receive information means for personalised news consumers and the obligation it imposes on states. However, the right to receive...
Article
Smart TV and online media enable precise monitoring of online media consumption, which also forms the basis for personalised recommendations. This new practice challenges EU policy in two respects. Firstly, the legality of monitoring individual media consumption and using personal data of users is primarily addressed under data protection law. Seco...
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Personalized recommendations in search engines, social media and also in more traditional media increasingly raise concerns over potentially negative consequences for diversity and the quality of public discourse. The algorithmic filtering and adaption of online content to personal preferences and interests is often associated with a decrease in th...
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Purpose: This paper aims to shed light on the impact of personalized news media on the shared issue agenda that provides democracies with a set of topics that structure the public debate. The advent of personalized news media that use smart algorithms to tailor the news offer to the user challenges the established way of setting the agenda of such...
Article
The news media are experimenting with new ways of engaging with the audience, and the use of algorithmic profiling and targeting is an important element of this strategy. The personalised newspaper is no longer only a vision from science fiction novels but is becoming a reality. The resulting shift from public information intermediary to personal i...
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Some fear that personalised communication can lead to information cocoons or filter bubbles. For instance, a personalised news website could give more prominence to conservative or liberal media items, based on the (assumed) political interests of the user. As a result, users may encounter only a limited range of political ideas. We synthesise empi...
Article
What does the shift from buying ‘things’ to buying ‘smart things’ implies for consumers and consumer protection law and policy? The paper will focus in particular on the aspect of profiling and targeting in the Internet of Things. Profiling and targeting is a topic that is more commonly associated with data protection law and privacy. This chapter...
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Purpose – The purposes of this paper are to deal with the questions: because search engines, social networks and app-stores are often referred to as gatekeepers to diverse information access, what is the evidence to substantiate these gatekeeper concerns, and to what extent are existing regulatory solutions to control gatekeeper control suitable at...
Article
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Exposure diversity is a relatively new and as yet to be explicitly formulated objective of contemporary media policy. While it holds certain potential—in particular in the messy digital space characterized by abundance and exponentially increased user choices—it comes with certain risks too. The role of public service media in ensuring exposure div...
Article
Personalized recommendations provide new opportunities to engage with audiences and influence media choices. Should the public-service media use such algorithmic profiling and targeting to guide audiences and stimulate more diverse choices? And if they do, is this a brave new world we would like to live in? This article outlines new opportunities f...
Chapter
Existing media diversity policies have had and will continue to have an important role in realizing the overall diversity of media content available.1 The various measures that exist in the member states, and at a European level, to promote a diversity of sources and independent media suppliers, as well as diversity in the output of individual medi...
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The application of consumer law to digital content contracts encounters a number of obstacles. Some of these are rather typical for digital content markets, e.g., the legal consequences of the classification of digital content as “goods” or “services”, and more importantly, the absence of general benchmarks to evaluate the conformity of digital con...
Article
This study examines what lessons can be learned from behavioural research for the form in which consumer information is being presented. The argument that this study makes is that the form in which information is presented and the effective communication of such information is at least as important as its content, and that this is an aspect that is...
Article
In October 2012, a large share of Dutch websites, including the websites of the leading Dutch newspapers but also of the public service media forced their users to accept tracking technologies (cookies) before being allowed to enter. The Dutch cookie-walls were a response to, or rather: act of resistance against a new Dutch law that was originally...
Article
On October 2012, a large share of Dutch websites, including the websites of the leading Dutch newspapers but also of the public service media forced their users to accept tracking technologies (cookies) before being allowed to enter. The Dutch cookie-walls were a response to, or rather: act of resistance against a new Dutch law that was originally...
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Purpose – This article seeks to deal with the fundamental conceptual differences between consumer law and copyright law that render the application of consumer law to copyright-law related conflicts difficult. Design/methodology/approach – Following a normative approach to copyright and consumer law based on an analysis of the relevant literature a...
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Purpose – The paper aims to report the main findings of a study for the Dutch Regulatory Authority for the Telecommunications sector OPTA to explore how the new European “cookie rules” in the ePrivacy Directive impact on behavioral advertising practices via the storing and reading of cookies. The paper identifies the main dilemmas with the implemen...
Article
The primary goal of European media policies is to ensure that users have access to pluralistic media content. This is seen as the necessary premise for the exercise of people’s fundamental right to freedom of expression. To this end, existing laws and policies must guarantee that a wide range of content from diverse sources is ready for consumption...
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The main aim of this study is to identify the short- and long-term economic and cultural effects of file sharing on music, films and games. File sharing is the catch-all term for uploading and downloading. The short-term implications examined include the direct costs and benefits to society at large. In order to determine the long-term impact, we a...
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This study takes place in the context of the i2010 mid-term review. Its particular focus on the use rperspective on the one hand and the potential for User-Created Content to support creation and innovation on the other hand has made it necessary for the European Commission to launch a prospective study on the roll-out of UCC and its economic, soci...
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This article argues that the instances in which amateur users will fall under the ambit of data protection law are not the exception, but rather the rule. Based on an analysis of the provisions of the European Data Protection Directive, the article demonstrates that existing data protection law burdens amateur users with provisions that exceed the...
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With the rapid growth of digital content, meaningful media diversity depends on users and the choices they make. The challenge is no longer facilitating content, but capturing attention, which is not subject to regulatory control. Empowering users with information, as exemplified in consumer law, thus becomes a more important element in the regulat...
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This article will explore some of their strategies to challenge amateurs to contribute content that not only reaches beyond the private sphere, but that also satisfies the expectations of an audience that is used to a certain standard of professional quality. It will then explain if and if so how the different strategies to improve and maintain the...
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The past decade has shown a rapid development of the markets for digital content. The further development of these markets, however, may be hindered because of the lack of a functioning legal framework to deal with digital content contracts. In this article, it is argued that the future Optional Instrument should contain rules governing digital con...
Article
With today’s digital media abundance, the realization of media diversity as a policy goal depends more than ever on the choices users make, or rather: the tools that they use to make these choices. Search intermediaries, such as search engines, Electronic Programme Guides or social recommendation tools, assist users in making media choices. The imp...
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to make suggestions of how to improve the legal standing of consumers of digital content products. Design/methodology/approach – The analysis in this paper is based on desk research and comparative legal research, among others in the context of research performed in the context of a grant from the Netherlands...
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Door een aanscherping van de Europese e-Privacyrichtlijn is bij het plaatsen van cookies, die bijvoorbeeld worden gebruikt om het surfgedrag van internetgebruikers te volgen, vooraf toestemming van de gebruiker nodig (en die dient gebaseerd te zijn op een geïnformeerde keuze). Deze aanscherping op Europees niveau (Nederland kent al een bepaling op...
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The potential of user created content to make a meaningful contribution to media diversity is subject to debates. Central to these debates is the argument of the quality of amateur productions. This article will take a close look at this argument, and make some suggestions on how to improve the quality and utility of amateur productions with regard...
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Software regelt immer mehr zwischenmenschliche Interaktionen. Üblicherweise werden die Funktionsmechanismen, Wirkungen und Gestaltungsoptionen von Regeln in der Institutionenforschung behandelt. In diesem Artikel soll beleuchtet werden, inwieweit sich Ansätze der Institutionenforschung auf Software anwenden lassen und was sich aus dieser Forschungs...
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The active and productive user or prosumer challenges fundamental concepts of traditional "information law", such as copyright law, audiovisual law, e-commerce law and data protection law. Information law was clearly not written with UCC in mind and a situation in which the division of tasks between "broadcasters", "publishers", " hosts" and "data...
Article
The main aim of this study is to identify the short- and long-term economic and cultural effects of file sharing on music, films and games. File sharing is the catch-all term for uploading and downloading. The short-term implications examined include the direct costs and benefits to society at large. In order to determine the long-term impact, we a...
Book
Nobody likes today’s copyright law. Widespread unauthorized use of copyright material proliferates with impunity, while citizens and users protest that intrusive copyright and related rights law stifle cultural expression. Equipment manufacturers and intermediaries complain about yet more ’security’ features that complicate their products and servi...
Article
For decades, broadcasting viewers have remained discreetly in the background of media policy, rolling their eyes and faithfully consuming what’s on tv. The regulator took the viewers by the hand and presented them with a carefully regulated broadcasting offer. The viewers remained where they were: stretched out lazily on the couch, consuming popcor...
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This special JCP issue deals with the iConsumer and their search for rules that would accommodate their specific concerns and interests. For a long time, consumers of audiovisual services, music, e-Books, and computer games have led a shadow existence as 'eyeballs', 'couch potatoes' ,o r'nerds'. The times, however, seem to be over. The digital cons...
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The following is a brief report of the discussion and main comments that were made during a workshop ‘The place of the iConsumer in EU and US law—protecting consumers of copyright protected content’, held in Amsterdam on 14 and 15 of December 2007. The workshop was part of a series of joint events organised by the Berkeley Centre for Law and Techno...
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The ability to make private copies is among the main concerns of consumers of information goods and services, as recent studies conducted among European consumers have demonstrated. What is surprising then is that this general expectation does not seem to rest on legally solid ground. European copyright law, while permitting the Member States of th...
Article
A Single European Market - Fewer barriers, more opportunities - that is Europe's promise to its citizens. According to the European Commission, the single market is all about bringing down barriers and simplifying existing rules to enable everyone in the EU to have direct access to 25 countries and 450 million people. The internet brings the accomp...
Article
As a result of modern content management technologies, individualisation, differentiation and conditioned access step into the place of traditional models of broadcasting content. In the light of these developments, the article provides a critical analysis of the proposals that were made to revise the Television Without Frontiers Directive and to p...