Meta Plans To Share Detailed Info on How Political Advertisers Target Users
The social media company will make this data available to "vetted academic researchers" through its FORT programme.
By the end of May, Facebook and Instagram's parent company, Meta, will start sharing more information about "targeting choices" that advertisers make when running social issue, electoral, and political ads.
The social media company will make this data available to "vetted academic researchers" through its Facebook Open Research and Transparency (FORT) platform.
"This data will be provided for each individual ad and will include information like the interest categories chosen by advertisers," Jeff King, vice president of Business Integrity at Meta, said in a blog post.
"We’ve heard from people who rely on our transparency tools that more information about advertisers’ targeting choices is critical to understanding the impact of digital advertising on elections and social discourse."Jeff King, vice president of Business Integrity at Meta
Meta came under the scanner following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and accusations that fake news and misinformation influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
More recently, a whistleblower accused the company of allowing political manipulation across 25 countries, including India.
Will You Be Able To Access This Data?
The detailed data for each individual ad will only be shared with "vetted" researchers via the FORT platform, which was created to allow Meta to grant access to sensitive information in a controlled environment.
The information will be available for all countries in which Meta has its ad authorisations and disclaimer tools available, including India.
FORT has built-in privacy protection measures, which let Meta share data with independent researchers so they can study the company’s impact on society.
You can apply for access here.
For the general public, Meta will provide access to a summary of targeting information for social issue, electoral, or political ads from July, through its Ad Library, which is a searchable collection of all ads currently running across Meta's platforms.
This summary will have information about how many such ads were run by a page and which interest categories were used to target users. It will also show the share of ad spending to target these specific categories.
"For example, the Ad Library could show that over the last 30 days, a Page ran 2,000 ads about social issues, elections or politics, and that 40 percent of their spend on these ads was targeted to 'people who live in Pennsylvania' or 'people who are interested in politics'," King wrote.
"In updating our tools, we solicited advice from external experts in the academic community and civil society on how to best achieve both of these important objectives, and we will continue to do so as we continue to evolve these tools," he added.
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