Why political Facebook ads are the most interesting political ads ever

There’s an argument that “political Facebook ads are just ads”. After 2016’s Brexit and Trump victories, when both campaigns made claim to being Facebook ad geniuses, it became important to take a look and see whether they were, in fact, more than that. Over time, the reconstruction of those campaigns has taken much of the […]

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Introducing ‘Decoder’

Using our new ‘Decoder’ tool, we’ve grabbed and decoded every URL linked to in Trump and Biden Facebook ads since July 1st*.  Each URL tells us a little about what the campaigns are trying to accomplish with the ad. By putting them all together, and looking at the data in aggregate, we can see deeper […]

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How to turn off political ads on Facebook

Facebook introduces a ‘kill switch’ for political advertising in the US. Over the past five years we’ve seen a massive increase in the level of political advertising through digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Google. Alongside legitimate campaigning, thanks to a lack of oversight, it’s also become the perfect place to seed disinformation and manipulate […]

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Ten simple ideas to regulate online political advertising in the UK

There are good ways of regulating political ads and there are bad ways of regulating political ads.

We need sensible ideas that allow campaigns to reach voters with ideas, while preventing abuse.

This post sets out ten ideas that, if implemented by governments and platforms, would improve trust and transparency.

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The Ad Transparency Triple-Decker

Transparency as it stands is insufficient as a global response. Different conditions demand different solutions, so we therefore propose two further layers transparency, one radically transparent, the other almost opaque, to sit alongside the existing, emerging transparency we see today. The two layers we outline below are new, and serve to fix weaknesses in the ideas defined by the companies so far.

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About the Conservatives “Support The Brexit Deal” ads

The Conservatives “Support the Deal” Brexit ads On 29th November, the Conservatives launched 152 ads about Brexit. They are promoting seven different videos, each with a  slightly different angle on the proposed deal. All have the same call to action – for people to visit https://www.backthebrexitdeal.com and email their MP, asking them to support the Prime Minister’s […]

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Dark ads are finally dead

Some things that have been bubbling along for a while moved forward last week. First, Facebook and Twitter launched new ad transparency initiatives. You can now view the ads that accounts are running. ‘Dark ads’ are dead. Neither implementation is perfect. Discovery is still hard (you don’t know what you’re looking for, particularly for campaigns […]

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Advice for parties and campaigns

Technology and data are changing the way elections work, but there’s not enough debate on the part of campaigns and their consultants about whether the new techniques they’re adopting are a good thing for democracy. I was at a conference for political consultants last week. Those present worked on polling and political messaging all over […]

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