Read more from Author Rachel Maga here: https://globelivemedia.com/author/rachel-maga/
Globe Live Media, Monday, January 25, 2021
Facebook will release academic access to its 1.3 million political and social advertising datasets starting February 1. This includes ads placed between August 3rd and November 3rd, 2020 (US Election Day).
Launched in 2019, Facebook’s ad library provides a database that anyone can easily search and browse for all ads served on Facebook and Instagram. Implemented after Russia’s interference with the U.S. presidential election in 2016, the database allows researchers and reporters to delve into ads by topic, company, and candidate, when they were posted, who saw them, and how much. It is possible to display data such as whether it took.
According to Facebook, the decision to offer the ability to look deeper into ads on the platform comes from feedback from the research community, which demands more information, especially about ad targeting. Facebook’s highly detailed ad targeting tools are of particular interest to researchers. They will soon have access to why certain people have seen the ad, including data such as the location and interests of the viewer.
“We recognize that understanding the status of online political advertising is the key to defending elections, and we can’t do it alone,” said Sarah Clark Schiff, Facebook Product Manager. (Sarah Clarke Schiff) said in the announcement.
Facebook’s advertising targeting system has plagued the company in the past. In 2016, Facebook disabled the “ethnic affinity” targeting option in advertising categories related to credit lending, housing and jobs. It was pointed out that these tools could lead to illegal discrimination against certain people. In 2018, it removed 5,000 ad targeting options, saying it could generate similar discriminatory ads. And there’s still debate about how much Facebook ad micro-targeting was used when Trump supporters boarded the White House.
Regardless of how you feel about the tool itself, Facebook’s published ad library has become a valuable tool for reporters, not only to dig deeper into each issue, but also political by party, race, and candidate. You can easily grasp your spending at a glance.
The new targeting data announced this time will be released exclusively on Facebook Open Research & Transparency, which is accessible only to university researchers, and will not be available in the public advertising library.
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.