Influencing users’ behaviour online: defining the challenges and exploring regulatory responses



Interdisciplinary Research Group in Socio-technical Cybersecurity

Influencing users’ behaviour online: defining the challenges and exploring regulatory responses

Thursday 10 February 2022
13:30 to 17:00
On February 10, an interdisciplinary group of researchers will bring together perspectives to better define the promises and dangers of influencing user behaviour online, and to reflect on necessary regulation in addressing new challenges.


Influencing users’ behaviour online

Digital environments are increasingly experienced through a user-centric lens. The digital economy is dominated by data-driven business models that center around the profiling and targeting of users based on their individual characteristics and circumstances. This targeting is aimed at influencing users’ behaviour in the market and public spheres, thus leading to consequences on their economic, social, political and personal wellbeing. However, these consequences, their prevalence and the technical mechanisms that drive them are yet to be fully understood in practice.

This event aims to bring interdisciplinary perspectives together, paving the way for defining the promises and perils of influencing users’ behaviour online, as well as exploring the regulatory routes in addressing emerging challenges.

This event is organized in collaboration with Utrecht University’s focus area Governing the Digital Society external link, The Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe (RENFORCE external link) and the Modern Bigness external link research group.


Thursday 10 February 2022
13:30 to 17:00
Organized by:
This event is organized in collaboration with Utrecht University’s
Utrecht University
More information:


13:30 – 13:40
Welcome remarks

13:40 – 14:10
Nicolo Zingales, Professor of Information Law and Regulation, FGV Direito Rio: Nudging legally: The need for poly-centricity

14:10 – 14:20

14:20 – 15:30
Session 1: The promise and perils of predictive personalisation 
Chair: Viktorija Morozovaite, Utrecht University

  • Sarah Eskens, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: Online news personalisation: risks and opportunities for the enjoyment of fundamental rights
  • Stuart Mills, London School of Economics: Does ‘nudge’ still work in the hyper-personal era?
  • Marijn Sax, University of Amsterdam: Personalisation: between empowerment and manipulation
  • Cennydd Bowles, NowNext Director, author of “Future Ethics”: When does design become manipulation?

15:30 – 15:45

15:45 – 17:00
Session 2: Integration of regulatory perspectives 
Chair: Marijn Sax, University of Amsterdam

  • Anne-Jel Hoelen, The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM): Setting boundaries: will regulatory response do the job?
  • Arianna Rossi, SnT, University of Luxembourg: Don’t look up! Or some nice features of the website may cease to operate
  • Tjaša Petročnik, Tilburg University: Ensuring quality of consumer-facing AI tools for health: what role for EU competition law?
  • Viktorija Morozovaite, Utrecht University: Hypernudging by digital voice assistants and compatible smart home devices



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SnT – Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust
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