With one day left, Facebook campaigning reaches a peak

06th Jun 2017 | Share:

Constituencies with users: 646 out of 650
Average users per constituency: 16.1
Number of users: 10,441

Just one day of campaigning left, and we’ve cracked the 10,000 user mark. Mid Ulster, Stockton North, Vale of Clwyd and Dudly North are the only constituencies without anyone using WhoTargets.Me. This level of coverage will mean that statistical analysis will be reliable, and will mean detailed local stories can be resolved.

We’re pleased that the coverage of WhoTargets.Me has been raising awareness of the potential issues around the digital campaign. We’ve had more local press, with BBC Bristol doing a news segment on the WhoTargets.me and articles in the Yorkshire Post. BBC Scotland have been reporting on dark ads. At the national level, campaigning organisation 38 Degrees has been supporting us, and there’s been a very detailed piece on BBC Click, explaining WhoTargets.Me. Our very own Louis Knight-Webb explains the A/B testing we’ve been seeing, a technique where adverts are carefully tuned over time to be more effective. He also discusses the mechanics of targeting, as well as looking at how third parties use Facebook data.

The Guardian has continued its support for the project, with a front page featuring data from WhoTargets.Me.

As predicted, we’ve seen a big increase in the amount of Facebook campaigning from all the parties, and it’s also clear that all sides are devoting considerable resources to targeting adverts.

Just after we launched WhoTargets.Me, I did an interview on the BBC Media Show. They asked me if our project was going to be important in an election where everyone knew that Theresa May would win. I answered that it was still important to understand the campaign because it would draw attention to the need for better regulation – and if Facebook ads weren’t going to tip the balance this time, they might be decisive at the next election. Things have changed – no one is quite so sure about what the outcome will be now. On Friday morning we can stop guessing. WhoTargets.Me will enter a whole new phase of work with LSE, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and others to understand exactly what happened and to keep up pressure for more transparency in digital election campaigning.


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