Meta Will Give Researchers More Information on Political Ad Targeting

Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, said it plans to provide outside researchers with more detailed information on how political ads are targeted on its platform, which politicians, campaigners and political strategists buy ads before the midterm elections. Is and gives an understanding of who uses it. .

Starting Monday, academics and researchers registered with the Facebook Open Research and Transparency Project will be allowed to view data on how each political or social ad was used to target people. The information includes categories of interest – such as “People who like dogs” or “People who enjoy the outdoors” – was chosen to target someone’s advertising.

In addition, Meta said it plans to include a summary of targeting information for some of its ads in its publicly viewed ad library starting July. The company created the Ad Library in 2019 to provide information to journalists, academics and others, and to help protect elections against the misuse of digital advertising.

While Meta has given outsiders little access to how its political ads have been used in the past, it has limited the amount of information that can be viewed, citing privacy reasons. Critics have claimed that the company’s system is flawed and sometimes corrupted, and often demands more data.

Which has caused controversy. Meta previously clashed with a group of New York University educators who tried to inject large amounts of self-reported data on Facebook users to learn more about the platform. The company cut off access to the group last year, citing violations of its platform rules.

The new data added to Facebook’s open research transparency project and ad library is a way to share information on political advertising targeting while trying to keep its users’ data private, the company said.

“By providing advertiser targeting criteria for the analysis and reporting of advertisements run on social issues, elections and politics, we hope to help people better understand the practices used to reach potential voters on our technologies,” the company said in a statement. .

With the new data, for example, researchers browsing the ad library can see that in one month, 2,000 political ads ran on the Facebook page and 40 percent of the advertising budget went to “people living in Pennsylvania” or “people interested in politics.”

Meta said privacy is bound by rules and regulations on what kind of data it can share with outsiders. In an interview, Jeff King, vice president of Metana’s Business Integrity Unit, said the company has hired thousands of workers over the past few years to review those privacy issues.

“Everything we release now goes through a privacy review,” he said. “We want to make sure we give people the right amount of data, but we still have privacy concerns.”

New data on political advertising will cover the period from August 2020 to the present, three months before the last US presidential election.

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